As Mexicans prepare to go to the polls Sunday, another candidate is dead and several others are recovering from physical attacks or threats in the most violent election season in Mexico’s history.
René Tovar, candidate for mayor of Cazones, Veracruz, was shot and killed at his home Friday night. He was running as a candidate for the Citizens Movement (MC) party.
Tovar was hit at least eight times and was taken to a hospital in nearby Poza Rica but was pronounced dead on arrival. Another person was injured in the attack.
State and national leaders of the Citizens Movement party condemned the murder, calling on the government to guarantee the safety of its citizens during the election season.
The governor of Veracruz made an effort to do exactly that earlier in the day on Friday, when he announced the deployment more than 5,000 security forces throughout the state, with the goal of maintaining peace and order during the election.
Another candidate for mayor in the state escaped injury but his bodyguards were not so fortunate. Gunmen attacked the campaign office of Fernando Pérez Varga in Coxquihui Friday morning, killing one of the bodyguards and wounding two others while attempting to reach the candidate, whose home adjoins the office.
However, the surviving bodyguards were able to catch one of the attackers and turn him over to state prosecutors after repelling the others.
Other attacks on candidates and politicians on Thursday and Friday:
• The general secretary of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Sinaloa, José Alberto Salas, was kidnapped from his home in Culiacán by an armed group on Saturday morning. Shots were fired and blood was found at the scene when police arrived. As of Saturday afternoon there was no word of his whereabouts.
• Vanesa Linares, a mayoral candidate in Ocuilan, México state, was attacked by gunmen Thursday night as she made her way home. Linares is part of the Va Por el Estado de México coalition, which consists of the PRI, the National Action Party (PAN) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).
• Also Thursday night, PAN candidate Mayra Sosa said on social media that she was the victim of an armed attack. Sosa is running for a seat on the council in San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Oaxaca.
• In Querétaro, an armed group fired on a pickup truck that was transporting family and campaign staff of María Cárdenas, a mayoral candidate for the town of El Marqués. No injuries were reported.
• The PRI candidate for mayor of Cuerámaro, Guanajuato, Mauricio Arce, said he has received death threats by phone and in writing, demanding that he withdraw from the election.
• A mayoral candidate on the Va Por Chiapas ticket (a coalition of the PRI, PAN and PRD), Rosemberg Díaz, said that his campaign headquarters were attacked by gunmen. Díaz is running for mayor of Tapilula, Chiapas. He blamed an opposing party candidate for the attack.
In Cancún, meanwhile, a candidate for mayor was taken out of the race but not through violence or threats against him: he was disqualified for what state election authorities called gender-based political violence.
Isaac Janix Alanís was stripped of his candidacy for Fuerza Por México after remarks he made about rival Mara Lezama, who is running for reelection as mayor. It wasn’t revealed what those remarks were.