Six people were killed in Chiapas on Saturday in yet another act of election-related aggression during what was Mexico’s most violent electoral period ever.
Five of the six people killed were members of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), according to Ángel Ávila, who represents the PRD at the National Electoral Institute (INE).
According to a report by the newspaper Reforma, five PRD members and another person who was driving the car in which they were traveling were shot dead in an ambush staged by armed men in another vehicle. The murders occurred in Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, located in a mountainous region of Chiapas near the border with Tabasco.
Among the slain PRD members were four members of the same family: Bernardino Sánchez López, his son, his daughter and his son-in-law.
The attack occurred as Sánchez was being taken to hospital. The family, who was transporting electoral material for use at a polling booth in Pueblo Nuevo, had been targeted in an earlier ambush on Saturday in which Sánchez was wounded. He was to have worked at a polling station on Sunday.
The murders are believed to be related to a dispute with the Social Encounter Party.
The 2020–2021 electoral period was marred by violence that spilled over into election day itself. Here’s a brief summary of some of the other incidents of election-related violence that occurred in recent days.
- A candidate for mayor in Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla, was targeted in an attack by two men on motorcycles early on Saturday morning. A vehicle in which Fuerza por México candidate Rubero Suárez was traveling was hit by at least four bullets and veered off the road before hitting a tree. Suárez was uninjured but two of his team members were wounded, requiring hospital treatment, according to the newspaper El Financiero.
- An INE official was shot dead in El Carmen Tequexquitla, Tlaxcala, on Friday night while traveling in a vehicle emblazoned with the INE initials. Armed men traveling on motorcycles reportedly carried out the attack and attempted to steal electoral material such as ballots. Other INE personnel traveling in the vehicle were not harmed in the incident, which occurred on the Mexico City-Veracruz highway.
- New Alliance party candidate for mayor in Miahuátlan de Porfirio Díaz, Oaxaca, César Figueroa Jiménez, was also attacked by armed men on motorcycles while traveling on Saturday. Police traveling with the candidate returned fire, and the three aggressors were arrested, according to Oaxaca Security Minister Heliodoro Díaz Escárraga. No injuries were reported.
- In Tijuana, Baja California, authorities reported that a man threw a decapitated human head into a polling station on Sunday. The man then fled, and authorities didn’t reveal whether he was later taken into custody. Plastic bags filled with human remains, including severed hands, were also found in the area.
- In Naucalpan, México state — where a group of former military personnel was running on a joint ticket — someone threw a smoke bomb into a polling station Sunday. One person told the news agency Reuters that crowds of voters dispersed but soon returned to cast their ballots. “People said that they would vote and that they would not be intimidated,” the voter said. “It was ugly.”
- Erick Ulises Ramírez, a Citizens Movement party candidate in Guerrero who survived an attempt on his life last month, said that two of his allies were abducted and beaten before being released on election day.
- The Sinaloa Attorney General’s Office reported that armed men stole voting materials from polling stations in the northern state.
- A group of troublemakers attacked voters and tried to steal election materials in Metepec, México state. The National Guard and state police intervened and arrested at least 15 people.
The violence in the final days leading up to the election added to almost 800 acts of election-related aggression that were recorded between last September, when the campaign period began, and the end of May. Among the incidents were the murders of at least 35 candidates and more than 50 other politicians, according to Etellekt, a risk analysis firm that tracks political violence. The majority of the attacks targeted municipal-level candidates and politicians.
Despite the rampant violence leading up to them, Sunday’s elections — the largest in Mexico’s history — ran smoothly, according to the INE, and were peaceful, with the exception of isolated incidents. The INE reported that it installed more than 99% of the polling booths it planned to set up, but violence did prevent people from voting in small pockets of some states, including Puebla, Michoacán and Oaxaca.