At least 64 politicians have been assassinated in the past six months in Mexico ahead of parliamentary and regional elections in June, the government said on Thursday.
The violence in Mexico that precedes polls, especially at the local level, is usually perpetrated by cartels involved in drug trafficking operating in the region.
“Organized crime is trying to influence the course of these elections,” said Security Minister Rosa Icelanda Rodriguez.
She reported 73 cases of political violence, including 64 homicides, mainly in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca (south), Veracruz (east), Baja California (north), Jalisco (west), Guanajuato and Morelos (center).
Rosa Zéla Rodriguez did not specify how many of those targeted were candidates in the June 6 elections.
In this context, the government presented on Thursday a plan to strengthen the protection of threatened candidates.
“We are working to stop these crimes against these criminal organizations which seek (…) to increase their political influence”, continued the minister during the morning press conference of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Violence against politicians most often takes the form of killings, kidnappings, threats against family members, house fires and extortion.
Some 94 million Mexicans are called upon to elect 500 deputies to the federal lower house, 15 of 32 governors, deputies to 30 state congresses and thousands of mayors and other local officials.
According to the consultancy firm Etellekt, 153 politicians were assassinated during the 2018 election campaign, of which 48 were candidates for elected office.
This cabinet emphasizes that 90% of these crimes go unpunished.
Since December 2006, when the government launched a drug offensive, Mexico has recorded more than 300,000 violent deaths, according to official data.