The hit men arrived by motorcycle at noon, stepped into the Toreo Restaurant and, without uttering a word, opened fire on Antonia Jaimes Moctezuma. Then they sped away, their mission completed. Jaimes was the restaurant owner and a candidate for a state congressional seat. Her killing Feb. 21 in the city of Chilapa, in Mexico’s violence-plagued Guerrero state, is among more than two dozen assassinations of candidates running for office in July. “The situation of insecurity is very grave here,” said her husband, Moises Acevedo. “But not only in Chilapa. They’re killing candidates all over the country.” Authorities have confirmed that at least 30 candidates have been killed, said Alfonso Navarrete, Mexico’s interior secretary. Some reports indicate the toll since last year may be almost twice as high.
The killings — mostly of local candidates in provincial areas far from the Mexican capital — form a chilling backdrop to the July 1 elections, which include races for president, Congress and local offices across the country. More than 3,000 offices are to be filled in the elections, the most ever on a single day.
The slain candidates represented a range of political affiliations and movements, suggesting that the killings are more about local power grabs and gang rivalries than national conflicts among parties.