Where gangs choose who will rule
Is this an election campaign or a war zone? asked Francisco Garfias. With less than two months to go before Mexicans vote for president and congress, the “blood is spilling unceasingly.” Abel Montúfar Mendoza, a mayor who was running for a legislative seat in violent Guerrero state, was found shot dead in his car last week, bringing the total number of candidates or sitting politicians killed since the campaign began to at least 90. And that figure doesn’t include the soldiers, police, and bodyguards who have died defending candidates or investigating their murders. Even human rights activists have failed to denounce the relentless assault on law enforcement, because for them the cops are also “bad guys.” At this rate, voters won’t be given a chance to decide whom they want to represent them. The choice “will be imposed upon them by organized crime,” through the physical annihilation of candidates who oppose the cartels and gangs. It’s not about party loyalty—candidates from every faction have been targeted. “Nobody is safe.” The authorities at every level look “impotent, even helpless,” against this evil. Our leaders bristle at the suggestion that Mexico “is a failed state.” But when gangs, not voters, rule, what else can we call it?