Mexico is taking its presidential election this weekend deadly serious.
It has to. More than 130 political candidates and political party workers have been killed so far in campaign-related violence, according to CNN.
Citing a Spanish-language report from the risk analysis and management firm Etellekt, CNN reported that political violence has struck in 22 of the country’s 32 states since campaigning kicked off in September.
Forty-eight of the victims were candidates, CNN reported. The rest involved party workers.
CNN reported that Mexico’s powerful drug cartels are believed to be behind the killings. But as a report published by PRI noted, in Mexico, that doesn’t necessarily mean the government is blameless.
“Although mainstream media outlets in Mexico and the US tend to blame political violence on drug cartels,” freelance journalist Alice Driver wrote on the website, “the reality is more complex given that cartels are often made up of former or present members of both the army and the police, and that their presence often represents the will of state and political officials.”
Journalists are also a target, Driver wrote, with eight killed since September.
The current Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, is forbidden by the Mexican constitution from seeking a third term.
If the candidate – known by his initials as AMLO – does win, one of the main characteristics of his term is likely to be a fractious relationship with the United States and President Donald Trump.
As Bloomberg reported Wednesday, “Lopez Obrador promises to put the poor first with a raft of new social programs — and to stand up to that other firebrand leader, Donald Trump.”
Lopez Obrador even published a book last year called “Listen, Trump.”
But before anyone can get elected in Sunday’s voting, Mexico will have to struggle through the rest of what has been so far a bloody campaign season – what Driver called an “unprecedented wave of political violence.”
In the United States, no matter how vitriolic the rhetoric has been since Trump’s presidential campaign and election in 2016, there hasn’t been anything like the kinds of killing Mexico has seen.
And the violence could well affect the future of the United States’ southern neighbor, according to the Etellekt report.
“These numbers anticipate a serious challenge of security for peace and democratic governance in these regions” where political violence has struck, the Etellekt report stated, according to CNN.
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