Narcos in Guerrero have agreed not to kill any more candidates for election after meeting with the bishop of Chilpancingo.
Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza, who has previously encouraged dialogue with drug cartels as a means of reducing violence, said he met Friday with a gang leader during a visit to Heliodoro Castillo in the state’s Sierra region.
After raising the issue of the assassination of candidates, he said, the gangster “promised to try to prevent it and allow a free election to take place in which the choice of the people would prevail . . . .”
The cartel insisted on two conditions: that those running for office not give away money in an attempt to buy votes, and that once the election was over the candidates must fulfill all their promises.
“What they ask for is a free, just and secret vote, nothing more,” the bishop declared.
Bishop Rangel had traveled to the town of Pueblo Viejo where criminal elements had cut off electricity and water in an attempt to flush out a number of rivals.
“I explained to them that while some of their enemies might have been there it was also true that there were old people, children and pregnant women, and all of them needed those services,” he said.
Rangel’s intercession succeeded and the gang yielded, reconnecting the utilities.
The bishop refused to identify the criminals with whom he spoke or provide any other information regarding the gang to which they belong.
Relations between Rangel and criminal organizations went awry two months ago when two priests and the relatives of a nun were murdered in two different incidents.
Of the 42 politically-related assassinations in Mexico since September, 12 were in Guerrero. Oaxaca was next with eight.