A Guanajuato politician who appealed to a cartel boss for an end to violence against innocent people may have lost his life for his trouble.
Joel Negrete Barrera, a 2018 candidate for mayor of Abasolo, was shot to death Wednesday, one day after he posted an open letter on Facebook to the leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.
Negrete was working at his convenience store in the community of El Tule Wednesday evening when two armed men on a motorcycle drove up, entered the store and opened fire in front of witnesses, killing him.
Negrete published the document addressed to José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias El Marro, on Tuesday morning, making a plea for peace.
“Please be considerate and have respect for all of us who are oblivious to the confrontation that the state holds against your person and organization,” he wrote, pleading with Yépez not to hold the civilian population accountable for the actions of corrupt government officials.
“You, like all of us, have a mother, brothers, a wife and children. You undoubtedly understand that the well-being of the family is the axis of human existence and that is why, for the well-being and safety of my family, I have had the audacity to address you,” Negrete wrote. “The millions of Guanajuatenses, oblivious to the causes that motivated this endless war, need a climate of peace to be able to continue with our lives.”
The cartel, linked to fuel theft and extortion, has been engaged in a bloody turf war with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which has contributed to making Guanajuato Mexico’s most violent state with 4,500 homicides in 2019.
President Lopez Obrador addressed Negrete’s murder in his morning press briefing today. “We have to continue fighting crime and guarantee peace,” he said. “The situation in Guanajuato has become very serious, more than in any other state.”
So far, authorities have not established a link between Negrete’s letter and his murder.