Police on guard: Germany has warned its citizens about travel in Mexico. Police on guard: Germany has warned its citizens about travel in Mexico.

Germany warns about pre-election violence

Two pre-candidates have been assassinated in Guerrero in the last week

The government of Germany has warned its citizens that security in Mexico will likely worsen in the lead-up to this year’s elections.

In a new comprehensive travel advisory, the country’s ministry of foreign affairs says “the security situation in many parts of Mexico is constantly deteriorating [and] the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections of July 1, 2018 are expected to increase violence further.”

The document entitled “Mexico: Travel and Safety Information” also warns that political demonstrations can turn into violent clashes and should therefore be avoided.

Furthermore, it alerts citizens to the dangers of crime affecting areas they may frequent during a trip to Mexico.

“Violent offenses as a result of high levels of general crime, but also in connection with organized crime (robberies, kidnappings, homicides, acts of revenge), are increasingly taking place in central locations in broad daylight. In organized crime disputes, even bystanders can be harmed,” the warning said.

It also urges caution when dealing with police officers, noting that elements of organized crime have on occasion infiltrated security forces and warns that violence against women, especially in tourist areas, is on the rise.

The advisory specifically advises German citizens to exercise increased caution in the states of Tamaulipas, Sinaloa and Colima as well as rural areas of Guerrero, Michoacán and Jalisco.

It also discourages travel to several cities including Acapulco, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Culiacán and Ecatepec and advises against visiting or staying in the center of Cancún at night, citing the recent occurrence of several violent clashes in the Quintana Roo resort city.

The warning likewise advises German citizens to take special care in certain districts of Mexico City including the neighborhoods of Tepito, Doctores and Lagunilla and the boroughs of Gustavo A. Madero, Venustiano Carranza and Iztapalapa.

In addition, the document warns about the dangers of natural disasters in Mexico including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tropical storms.

The warning follows updated Mexico travel advice issued by the governments of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom earlier this year.

It also comes in the wake of several political assassinations in recent months. The southern state of Guerrero has been particularly hard hit.

Antonia Jaimes Moctezuma, a state Congress pre-candidate for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in Chilapa, was shot and killed last week while inside a restaurant she owned.

Guerrero security spokesman Roberto Álvarez Heredia said that two armed men arrived at the restaurant on a motorcycle before entering and firing directly at Jaimes, who died at the scene.

Another pre-candidate for state Congress was also killed yesterday in Chilapa, a particularly violent city about 50 kilometers east of state capital Chilpancingo.

Dulce Rebaja Pedro, a 28-year-old regional coordinator for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was abducted and murdered alongside her 30-year-old cousin, a state police officer.

The woman’s uncle was also killed over the weekend and another family member is missing.

Two men who planned to run for mayor in the municipalities of Zihuatanejo and Atoyac de Álvarez were also murdered at the end of last year as was the sitting mayor of Petatlán, Guerrero.

Earlier this month, a pre-candidate for the position of mayor in the México state municipality of Cuautitlán Izcalli was also killed.

Francisco Rojas San Román, who hoped to represent the PRI on the ballot, and his sister-in-law were attacked on February 3 in front of the former’s home. Both later died in hospital.

The México state Attorney General’s office said last week that a 29-year-old man had been arrested in the northern state of Durango in relation to the crime.

With 29,168 homicides, 2017 was Mexico’s most violent year in at least two decades.

Strategies to combat the worsening security situation will undoubtedly feature prominently in the campaign for the July 1 presidential election, which is set to be contested by three major party and three independent candidates.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), El Economista (sp)

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