A candidate for mayor who was kidnapped last week and told to drop out of the June 6 election has resumed her campaign.
Zudikey Rodríguez, candidate for the PRI-PAN-PRD alliance in Valle de Bravo, México state, was abducted by suspected members of the Familia Michoacana cartel on May 17 and taken to Tejupilco, where cartel leader Johnny Hurtado Olascoaga allegedly told her to withdraw from the race.
“Look, Zudy, they’ve ordered me to kill you, but I’m going to spare your life. I just ask you to hide and drop out of the campaign,” Olascoaga reportedly told Rodríguez.
The candidate, a former sprinter and hurdler who competed at the 2008 Olympic Games, stopped campaigning after the incident but has now defied the threat, confirming this week that she would contest the mayoral election in Valle de Bravo, a popular tourist town and weekend destination for Mexico City residents.
“We will carry on, and it will be without fear,” Rodríguez told supporters at a closed-door event that was live-streamed on her Facebook page on Thursday.
“We’re not afraid. Today, we’re braver and stronger thanks to you because you didn’t give up, and that got me back on my feet,” she said.
“With you, my family, I feel safe, and we’ll go together toward victory. … Today I want to forget what happened in days past. It was not at all pleasant for me, my family or you.”
Rodríguez also posted a series of campaign video advertisements to her Facebook page in which she outlines some of her political proposals and asks Valle de Bravo residents to support her on June 6.
“Not one backward step until we obtain victory on June 6. For Valle de Bravo residents, there is not a single obstacle that can stop us,” she says in one ad.
“[My government] will have a comprehensive focus on security so that every woman and man feels safe walking on the streets of the municipality. We’re going to strengthen the coordination between the three levels of government and professionalize the municipal police,” the candidate says in another promotional video.
A well-known political columnist, Raymundo Riva Palacio, and others claimed last week that the motivation for the Familia Michoacana’s abduction of Rodríguez was to help the Morena party candidate.
But Michelle Núñez categorically denied that organized crime is involved in her campaign. Noting that she was well ahead in the polls, Núñez told the newspaper Milenio that such claims were desperate attempts to damage her reputation by people linked to the PRI-PAN-PRD coalition.
“… Making such an accusation … without proof, just because you’re losing the electoral contest, is a vile deed. … [Organized crime] is not in my campaign,” Núñez said.
Citizens Movement party candidate Marina Cruz said that she hasn’t been approached or threatened by any criminal groups and asserted that she has no fears for her safety.
Núñez said that claims that organized crime is involved only serve to harm the reputation of the municipality, a point with which the local head of the national restaurant association Canirac agreed.
“Like the other 2,500 municipalities of the republic, we have our problems, but portraying us from one day to the next as a narco municipality is wrong,” Salvador Enríquez said.
Source: Milenio (sp)