Mayoral candidate shot dead at election campaign rally in Mexico’s Guerrero

Alfredo Cabrera’s murder is the latest in a string of attacks ahead of Sunday’s elections.

Members of the National Guard custody the crime scene of the mayoral candidate of the opposition, Alfredo Cabrera, murdered during his electoral campaign closure in Las Lomas, Guerrero, Mexico
Members of the National Guard at the crime scene of the mayoral candidate of the opposition, Alfredo Cabrera, murdered at the close of his electoral campaign in Las Lomas, Guerrero, Mexico, on May 29, 2024 [Francisco Robles/AFP]

A mayoral candidate has been shot dead at a campaign rally in Mexico’s southern Guerrero state, the latest in a string of attacks ahead of Sunday’s elections.

Alfredo Cabrera was murdered on Wednesday in the town of Coyuca de Benitez. A video published by local media showed a person approaching him at the campaign event, shooting him several times at point-blank range.

Cabrera’s killing adds to a mounting death toll in the run-up to presidential, congressional and local polls on June 2. The government said on Tuesday that at least 22 people running for local office had been murdered since last September.

On Tuesday, a mayoral candidate in the central state of Morelos was murdered while another one was shot and wounded in western Jalisco state, authorities said.

Cabrera belonged to an opposition coalition backing Xochitl Galvez, a centre-right senator and businesswoman with Indigenous roots, who is currently polling second in the presidential race.

Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado condemned the “cowardly” murder, saying on X that she had asked the state prosecutor’s office to bring “the full weight of the law against the person or persons responsible”.

The alleged attacker was killed at the scene, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Security concerns

Drug cartels have often carried out political assassination attempts in a bid to control local police or extort money from municipal governments.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador acknowledged in early April that the cartels often seek to determine who will serve as mayor – either by running their own candidates or eliminating potential rivals.

“They make an agreement and say, ‘this person is going to be mayor; we don’t want anyone else to register to run’, and anybody who does, well, they know [what to expect],” he said at the time.

The recent killings have prompted the government to provide bodyguards for about 250 candidates, while those running for municipal positions – the most endangered – are the last in line for security.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), one of the opposition coalition parties, accused the government of having “not made even the slightest effort to guarantee the safety of the candidates”.

About 27,000 soldiers and National Guard members will be deployed to reinforce security during Sunday’s elections.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies