Friday, December 1, 2023

1 mayor-elect missing, another is in a coma as election violence continues

Pursuing a political career as a mayor in Mexico continues to be hazardous. A mayor-elect has been missing in Guerrero for the past 10 days while another is in a coma in Chihuahua.

On September 2 Daniel Esteban González, mayor-elect of Cochoapa El Grande, Guerrero, disappeared along with his driver after attending a meeting with a Morena party deputy in the municipality of Tlapa.

Before his disappearance Esteban had been fighting a challenge to the results of the July 1 election but the federal electoral court had recently ruled in his favor, formalizing his win.

The mayor-elect’s wife has declared that Esteban had received anonymous calls in which he was ordered to stop fighting the challenge to the election results.

Meanwhile, in the northern state of Chihuahua the winner of the municipal election in Gómez Farías remains in a medically induced coma.

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Blas Godínez Ortega was attacked on September 8 by a lone gunman who shot him in the head.

The doctor was placed in a coma prior to surgery on his left eye and optical nerve, saving both. But a similar procedure failed to save his left ear. Surgeons also had to remove a section of brain mass damaged by the gunshot.

Godínez is expected to come out of the coma soon. No prognosis has been given due to the severity of his injuries, although a full recovery has not been discarded.

Preliminary investigations by the state Attorney General’s office have discounted the involvement of organized crime in the attack because the bullet extracted from his skull belongs to a low-caliber gun that does not match those used by regional gangs.

Godínez ran for mayor and won on July 1. He was motivated by high levels of criminal violence in the municipality and the disappearance last year of his father, also a doctor, believed to have been kidnapped by a crime gang to treat gangsters wounded in gunfights.

He has not been seen since.

The 2018 election period was one of the most violent in Mexico’s history, when 175 politicians were assassinated between September 1 last year and August 31.

Since the July 1 elections there have been 63 acts of aggression against politicians, of which 21 were intentional homicides. Most of the victims were members of the Morena party, which swept most polls, and most occurred in Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla and Guanajuato, according to the risk consultancy Etellekt.

The Mayors of Mexico website also keeps tabs on such numbers. It reported yesterday that there have been 132 assassinations of mayors, mayors-elect or ex-mayors in the last 12 years. Forty-nine of those occurred during the Felipe Calderón administration and 83 since Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012.

Source: Tribuna Noticias (sp), El Heraldo de Chihuahua (sp), El Economista (sp)

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