The funeral this week for a slain candidate in Guerrero. The funeral this week for a slain candidate in Guerrero.

Narcos seek to control elections of mayors, Congress: governor

Criminal gangs want to control municipal governments, state lawmakers

The governor of Guerrero warned yesterday that organized crime is seeking to influence the electoral process in the state in order to gain control of the next generation of mayors and members of state Congress and the regions they will represent.

Héctor Astudillo explained in a radio interview that “criminal groups don’t only try to extort money [from politicians] but also to control territory through the authorities.”

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governor cited the state’s notoriously-dangerous Tierra Caliente region as a prime example.

“This region suffers from this serious problem. The interference [comes from] these groups who are not satisfied with controlling the transport of drugs from the high parts [of the state] but are also interested in controlling the municipal governments and those who are going to be representatives in the state Congress,” he added.

Astudillo said he first raised the concern in a meeting with other state governors several months ago and that his prediction had turned out to be correct.

“I wasn’t wrong, I saw it coming. Incidents like the murder of [state Congress candidate] Abel Montúfar Mendoza have occurred, it’s one more [assassination] that has happened and that we have mourned . . .” he said.

Montúfar, who took leave as mayor of mayor of Coyuca de Catalán to contest the July 1 elections, was the 18th politician slain in Guerrero since the electoral process started last September, according to risk analysis firm Etellekt.

Astudillo said that Montúfar’s murder was linked to that of another former Tierra Caliente mayor, Ambrosio Soto, who was shot and killed in July 2016.

Hours after the former’s bullet-riddled body was found Tuesday, three soldiers were killed and three more were wounded in Coyuca after they were ambushed by armed men.

To combat the continuing violence and prevent criminal groups from gaining political power, Astudillo said, a joint state and federal security operation is being prepared for Tierra Caliente.

“It’s time to go in with greater authority in Tierra Caliente because unfortunately in some cases politics is mixing with crime . . . we can’t allow there to be mayors and [state Congress] representatives that are controlled by criminal groups,” he said.

The governor called for a “head-on and determined fight” against the cartels because “there will be no way for the people [of Guerrero] to get ahead if they remain under the threat of criminals.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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