At Least 30 Political Candidates Killed by Drug Cartels in Mexico This Year

Niyazz /
Niyazz /

Mexico held one of its largest national elections ever on June 2, with everyone from mayoral to congressional candidates running. Unfortunately, at least 30 candidates did not even make it to Election Day. This wasn’t because they were voted out during primary elections but rather because they were murdered by the out-of-control drug cartels that have been made wealthier than ever by Joe Biden. It’s a sign of just how much control the cartels are now wielding over politics in Mexico at all levels.

Noé Ramos was running for reelection in his hometown in northern Mexico. He had breakfast with supporters and gave a speech, saying in a Facebook livestream, “It motivates me to keep on working to make things better. … I will not defraud them.”

An hour later, he was stabbed dead on the campaign trail. That same day, April 19, the body of a mayoral candidate was found in the state of Oaxaca. He’d been reported missing two days earlier. On Wednesday last week, José Alfredo Cabrera was shot dead on the campaign trail in Coyuca de Benítez, where he was running for mayor.

These killings are happening in the backdrop of an election in which public safety is now the number one concern of voters in Mexico. The consultancy Integralia says this is the most violent election in modern Mexican history when adding up all the murders, threats, kidnappings, disappearances, and other acts of intimidation. When we say “at least” 30 candidates have been killed this year, it’s because, in many other cases, a body just hasn’t turned up yet. Everyone knows what happened, though.

Integralia said there have been 516 acts of violence against Mexican political candidates as of May 1. Most of the victims of violent crimes and threats have been mayoral candidates across the country. When those candidates are killed, it’s less likely that there will be military retaliation against the cartels.

The cartels are now financially backing their own candidates for office and then eliminating the competition. A corrupt mayor can then deliver benefits to the cartels that include everything from smuggling routes and extortion targets to crooked cops and municipal budget help. Local politicians are more vulnerable to corruption than national figures like state governors or members of Congress.

The Mexican military dispatched close to 3,500 troops to protect national candidates during the last week before the election. Local and mayoral candidates, however, are forced to hire their own bodyguards. Promising to deliver on public safety for the voters is the equivalent of painting a target on yourself in Mexico right now.

Bertha Gisela Gaytán gave a speech in her hometown of Celaya on April 1 on how she was going to crack down on cartel violence. It was the very first day of her campaign. As she was marching through town with supporters after the speech. Two pairs of gunmen on motorcycles rode directly up to her and cut her to ribbons with machine guns.

Gaytán had asked for federal protection for her campaign, but it was denied. Mayoral candidates in Mexico are treated the same way that Joe Biden treats Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. They did finally send federal troops to watch over Gaytán for her funeral. She was a member of outgoing Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ruling Morena party. At least 10 of the murdered mayoral candidates this year belonged to that same party.

It’s worth following these trends in Mexican politics because the exact same thing will be happening in America here shortly if Joe Biden wins a second term in office. The drug cartels have already expanded their operations into all 50 US states on Biden’s watch. How long will it be before they decide to start influencing mayoral elections here in the same way?