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Mexico’s version of the killing fields

Maybe another election somewhere had this much killing, but it’s bad news down in Mexico. I spoke with a Canadian friend living in central Mexico and it was the violence that he kept talking about. This is another example:

Tailed by trucks of heavily armed soldiers, four caskets floated on a sea of hundreds of mourners. Neighbors peered nervously from their homes as the crowd pushed past shuttered businesses, empty streets and political campaign posters plastering the small Mexican town of Huitzilac.

Days earlier, armed men in two cars sprayed a nearby shop with bullets, claiming the lives of eight men who locals say were sipping beers after a soccer match. Now, fear paints the day-to-day lives of residents who say the town is trapped unwillingly in the middle of a firefight between warring mafias.

As Mexico’s expanding slate of criminal groups see the June 2 election as an opportunity to seize power, they have picked off more than 100 people in politically-motivated killings, including about 20 candidates this year, and warred for turf, terrorizing local communities like Huitzilac.

“The violence is always there, but there’s never been so many killings as there are today. One day they kill two people, and the next they kill another,” said 42-year-old mother Anahi, who withheld her full name out of fear for her safety, on Tuesday. “When my phone rings, I’m terrified that it’ll be the school saying something has happened to my kids.”

Imagine that. The phone rings and mom is concerned that something happened to her kids.

To be fair, cartel violence is not new to Mexico. However, this violence surrounding the election is a bit different. In the past, a lot of violence was gang killing gang over routes or territory. In this case, the deaths are candidates or people participating in campaigns. Are the criminal elements sending a message?

It looks like the incumbent party will win the presidency and keep the banner for another six years. It also looks like they will run a country overwhelmed with violence and criminal elements shooting their way around. Let’s see how that turns out.

P.S. Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Mexico flag.

Image: Pixabay

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