Indigenous candidate Marichuy marches with supporters in Michoacán yesterday. Indigenous candidate Marichuy marches with supporters in Michoacán yesterday.

Armed gang attacks candidate’s convoy

Vehicle traveling with independent presidential candidate robbed in Michoacán

A gang of armed men yesterday held up and robbed a vehicle traveling in Michoacán with the indigenous, independent presidential aspirant known as Marichuy.

State security authorities said that one of three vehicles accompanying María de Jesús Patricio Martínez fell behind the other two and was intercepted by a group of men in a pickup truck on a state highway between Tepalcatepec and Paracho.

The men stole cell phones, cameras and other photography equipment from three reporters who were traveling in the vehicle. There were no reports of any injuries to the victims and the other two vehicles arrived safely in Paracho.

State and federal police as well as the army attended the scene but the newspaper El Universal reported earlier today that there were no leads in relation to those responsible.

Shortly after the incident, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), whose spokeswoman is Patricio, denounced the attack on its social media accounts.

In a further statement today, the CNI said that it held all three levels of government responsible for the occurrence, adding that during its tour of indigenous communities it had been “shaken to hear of the pain caused by organized crime in collusion with bad governments.”

Prior to yesterday’s incident, the presidential pre-candidate attended an event in Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, where she condemned the murder of indigenous activists and spoke out about the threat that organized crime poses to indigenous people.

She lamented that in Mexico, indigenous people are considered “second-class” citizens and women “third-class.”  Guadalupe Campanur Tapia, a 32-year-old indigenous woman and activist, was found dead in Michoacán last week.

However, Patricio said that she personally had not received any threats.

The event was part of a three-day tour to Michoacán, one of five Mexican states that a new U.S. government travel advisory warns citizens about.

As well as raising awareness about indigenous issues and listening to the problems and concerns of indigenous people, Patricio is promoting her own political aspirations and aiming to garner more voter support.

In order to appear on the ballot for the July 1 election, independent candidates are required to collect 866,593 signatures by February 12.

According to data from the National Electoral Institute (INE), Marichuy currently has 171,500 signatures, or under 20% of the total required.

Source: El Universal (sp), Excélsior (sp)

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