Election Violence: Mayoral Candidate Brutally Murdered at Rally as Candidate Death Count Reaches 22


While the American media’s focus is on this fall’s elections in the U.S., just south of the border, it’s an election year, too — and an ominous one at that.

In the latest sign of an election season that threatens to spiral out of control, Alfredo Cabrera, a mayoralty candidate for the opposition party in a southern Mexican city, was killed by an unidentified assassin — the 22nd candidate for local office killed since September, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.

The attacker was killed at the scene, according to the prosecutor’s office. Video of the assassination, meanwhile, circulated on social media in the hours after Cabrera was killed.

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The report said the turbulent election season has claimed the lives of at least 30 politicians, according to the nongovernmental organization Data Civica.

“Guerrero governor Evelyn Salgado condemned the ‘cowardly’ murder of Cabrera, a candidate for an opposition coalition in the town of Coyuca de Benitez,” AFP reported.

Salgado said on X that the state prosecutor’s office would set “the full weight of the law against the person or persons responsible.”

“I strongly condemn the unfortunate events in which the candidate for the municipal presidency of Coyuca de Benítez for the PRI, PAN and PRD coalition, Alfredo Cabrera Barrientos, lost his life,” she wrote, according to a translation.

“To his family, friends and supporters, I respectfully express my sincere condolences,” Salgado said.

At several basic levels, the murder in Guerrero should arouse both interest and alarm norte of the border.

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First, the incident was another sad sign of the instability and lawlessness that reigns in large swaths of Mexico.

In an election year where the border crisis is thrown into stark relief, it bears reminding American voters that the same Mexican cartels responsible for much of this violence are also transporting illegal immigrants to the border and ferrying them over, as well as importing drugs and other contraband into the United States.

This is third-world stuff — and by refusing to secure our nation’s southern border, we’re importing it. America cannot be this vulnerable if our greatness is to endure.

Do you believe America is a safe country?

Then there’s the small matter of the Mexican election itself, which has the unfortunate probability of turning our neighbor to the south into a de facto one-party state.

When the election takes place on Sunday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador won’t be on the ballot, being term-limited to six years by the Mexican constitution.

However, as The Wall Street Journal noted, he hopes to cement his legacy by ensuring his left-wing party, MORENA, holds on to power — and that includes, the Journal noted, “trying to bring [Mexico’s] electoral body under control of the executive and stifle its impartiality.”

The move sparked massive protests in Mexico City last week.

Cabrera, it’s worth noting, was part of the opposition PRI-PAN-PRD coalition, which unites the three most popular non-MORENA parties into one entity known as “Fuerza y Corazón por México,” or “Strength and Heart for Mexico.”

Needless to say, then, the shooting takes on a different light, particularly in a state where the government is participating in real — not imagined, as when an American state has the nerve to insist that voters show proper ID — voter suppression through the attempted subversion of the country’s purportedly impartial election observer.

MORENA is running former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as its candidate — and while she’s been constantly ahead in the polls, her share of the vote has shrunk over the first few months of 2024, from 61 percent in January to 53 percent in May in a polling aggregate from Oraculus reported by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

Fuerza y Corazón por México candidate Xóchitl Gálvez has similarly seen her share increase from 32 percent to 36 percent in the same aggregate.

Nevertheless, as the Journal noted, “Ms. Gálvez is the undisputed underdog in this race. Since before the campaign officially began, Mr. López Obrador has been running up the fiscal deficit, using government programs to throw money at voters and the economy. He also has used his bully pulpit to campaign for Ms. Sheinbaum, in violation of electoral law.”

While the Mexican presidency can be decided by obtaining a mere plurality of the vote, it’s worth noting that another poll by Buendía & Márquez found that 38 percent of voters still had doubts about their selection and that a near majority — 45 percent — identified as independent, compared with 27 percent for MORENA and 10 percent each for PRI and PAN.

And, as the Journal noted in a separate election report on May 19, despite López Obrador racking up huge deficits and being wholly ineffectual in stopping the violence that plagues the country, the question might not be whether MORENA can win but whether or not his party carries the two-thirds majority needed in both legislative chambers to drastically amend the constitution.

Whatever the case, it’s unlikely that Sunday’s election will do much to change the Mexican social landscape; the cartels are too entrenched, the political class too weak to confront them.

However, the country’s lapsing into a veritable one-party state with almost no independent election oversight is a worst-case scenario for those who are hoping the situation with our neighbor might improve, not deteriorate further.

If the numbers hold up, it almost certainly will deteriorate — and opposition politicians like Alfredo Cabrera are going to be at ever-increased risk from a government that cannot secure the basic human right to life, much less liberty.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture