Photo @ Publimetro
On July 1st, the largest elections in the history of the country were held in Mexico. 3,400 positions were elected, among them, the President of the Mexican Republic. The election day was historic for the Mexican people, with a participation of 89 million voters, the largest in its recent history.
The Observatory of Democracies: Southern Mexico and Central America (ODEMCA in its Spanish acronym) underlines in its “2018 Preelectoral Balance of Mexico” that “the federal electoral process 2017-2018 is recorded as the most expensive in the history of Mexico.” The budget authorized by the National Electoral Institute (INE in its Spanish acronym) was 28 billion pesos.
Violence also reached a record in the pre-election process. The consultancy Etellekt, specializing in risk analysis and public policies, presented its “Sixth Report on Political Violence in Mexico 2018”, in which it reports that 133 politicians have been murdered since September 8th, 2017 until the end of campaigns on the 27th of June. According to Telesur, “48 of the murdered were candidates or pre-candidates for some political office. In addition to this figure, 50 relatives of politicians lost their lives in attacks.”
In Oaxaca and Guerrero Etellekt recorded 26 deaths in each state during their observation period, which makes them leaders at a national level. Puebla continues in second place with 13 registered victims. In total, 548 global aggressions were counted, including attempts of homicide and threats throughout Mexico.
The states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas went through conflicts of different kinds that made the elections take place in a context of high conflict. The pollster director Ruben Salazar mentions that, “at the local level some very impressive things happen, especially in an election where so many positions are disputed in such problematic states as Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla.”
The electoral process has generated a wave of violence in several states, which, based from a media monitoring by SIPAZ, ranging from the end of the campaign, the election day and post-election days of the most emblematic cases, is shown below for the States of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.
The most serious case occurred on July 1st with the murder of Prisciliano Hernandez, a member of the Movimiento de Regeneracion Nacional (MORENA in its Spanish acronym) party, who was shot dead during a fight with a presumed militant of the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM in its Spanish acronym) in the municipal seat of Venustiano Carranza. Excelsior reported that “unofficial sources point out that the row started after the deceased tried to prevent vote buying by the PVEM.”
For its part, Chiapas Paralelo reported a clash in Santiago el Pinar in the highlands of Chiapas, where “militants of the local party Mover a Chiapas arrived at the kiosk where the polls were installed, destroyed the screens that allow the secrecy of the vote, and forced the population to vote openly, in favor of Sebastian Gomez Gomez, candidate for the municipal presidency of that party.” After complaints from the population, the aggressors reacted violently using projectiles such as sticks and stones. The note indicates that “this fact caused the suspension of the vote and left a toll of around 20 people injured, two of them with wounds that required hospitalization. (…) The militants of Mover a Chiapas were left with the ballot box, and according to the complaint, they filled out the remaining ballots. For this reason, they asked for the annulment of the election in the municipality.”
In the state, cases of intimidation, destruction of voting booths and ballot boxes stolen by armed groups in Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Huixtan and Mapastepec were reported. According to Chiapas Paralelo, “the electoral Prosecutor’s Office reported that it has initiated 38 investigations into violent incidents that occurred during the election day.”
Chiapas Paralelo reported two serious incidents on July 2nd; one in Ocozocuatla, where they killed two people with firearms in a post-electoral conflict. In Tapilula, “a group that carried high-caliber weapons whom the population identifies as members of the Chiapas Unido party, set fire to cars and fired at their political opponents.” During these events one victim lost his life.
Animal Politico reported that on June 28th, in the community of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional on the Coast of Oaxaca, “Joaquin Andres Bernal Rojas, an official of the National Electoral Institute (INE in its Spanish acronym), was murdered outside his home.”
The note continues with the resignation of two officials of the State Electoral Institute and Civic Participation of Oaxaca (IEEPCO in its Spanish acronym) of the 25th District Council, based in San Pedro Pochutla, “after receiving death threats that ordered them to resign in a maximum period of 24 hours from their posts in the electoral body.”
In Oaxaca, several ballot thefts were recorded; only, with the monitoring of three sources, SIPAZ counted eight affected communities. One of the affected is San Pedro Ozumacin, belonging to the municipality of Ayotzintepec of the district of Tuxtepec, in the Papaloapan Basin, where Diario Oaxaca reported “the theft and burning of 1,800 papers of two ballot boxes.”
Sara Castro Chamun was abducted by an armed group in the community of San Cristobal on July 1st. Castro is the representative of the MORENA party before the Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute (IEPC in its Spanish acronym), which several days earlier had received several threats by followers of the PRI candidate for mayor of Ajuchitlan del Progreso, El Universal reports.
El Sur reported the presence of several armed groups in the Tierra Caliente region and the Northern Zone of the State that prevented the installation of ballot boxes.
In the State of Guerrero, SIPAZ observed from the media that there were isolated cases of political violence during the election day, where the fear of civil society affected the participation of citizens in the elections of some municipalities with a high level of violence as reported by El Universal: “In voting centers in the municipalities of, Chilapa, Pedro Ascencio de Alquisiras and Zitala, there was little attendance of voters for fear of suffering some aggression, since the area is considered a region of dispute between organized crime gangs.”
For more information from SIPAZ:
Nacional: Andrés Manuel López Obrador nuevo Presidente electo de México. (3 de Julio de 2018)
Chiapas/Oaxaca/Guerrero: Resultados preliminares. Elecciones 2018 (3 de Julio de 2018)
For more information in Spanish:
Suman 4 personas asesinadas por conflictos electorales en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 3 de julio de 2018)
Violencia en 2 municipios, saldo de jornada electoral (Adiario Oaxaca, 2 de julio de 2018)
La democracia en Oaxaca está bajo fuego con asesinatos, amenazas a candidatos, robo de casillas, compra del voto: Flavio Sosa (Página3, 1 de julio de 2018)
No se ha instalado una casilla en Ixcapuzalco por el secuestro de una persona (El Sur, 1 de julio de 2018)
Guerrero registra incidentes aislados durante jornada electoral (El Universal, 1 de julio de 2018)
Asesinan a balazos a militante de Morena en Chiapas (Excelsior, 1 de julio de 2018)
Se presenta robo de material electoral en diferentes municipios (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de julio de 2018)
Hechos violentos marcan la jornada electoral en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de julio de 2018)
La víspera de la elección se intensifican actos de violencia, compra y coacción del voto (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de junio de 2018)
Asesinan a funcionario del INE en Oaxaca afuera de su domicilio (Animal Político, 29 de junio de 2018)
Más de 130 políticos asesinados en campaña electoral de México (Telesur, 28 de junio de 2018)
Acaban campañas con récord en el nivel de violencia (El Universal, 28 de junio de 2018)