Three candidates for mayor of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, have been murdered in the space of just over three months.
Homero Bravo Espino became the most recent victim after he was shot at least six times while inside his car Friday night in the town of San José Ixtapa. The municipal director of public works was taken to hospital where he died at around 8:30pm.
State security spokesman Roberto Álvarez Heredia said that Bravo had registered as a pre-candidate for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) but ultimately stepped aside to allow current Mayor Gustavo García Bello to seek reelection.
On November 14, a former PRD councilor and independent candidate for mayor, Miguel Solorio Figueroa, was shot and killed along with his personal bodyguard in the El Riscal housing estate in the resort city.
The second victim was Mariano Catalán Ocampo, who was shot several times by high-caliber weapons in downtown Zihuatanejo on December 31.
The municipal director of general services was expected to seek the PRD nomination to run for mayor of Zihuatanejo in this year’s elections.
A total of seven political hopefuls have now been murdered in Guerrero in the lead-up to municipal and state elections that will coincide with the presidential poll on July 1.
On the same day as Catalán was killed, another mayoralty candidate in the municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez was also shot to death.
Three days earlier, the sitting mayor of Petatlán, located between Zihuatanejo and Atoyac, was murdered. Arturo Gómez Pérez had announced his intention to run for state Congress under the PRD banner.
Another candidate for mayor in the municipality of Quechultenango was also murdered in November.
In addition, two pre-candidates for state Congress were killed in Chilapa, Guerrero, last month.
Bravo’s death Friday was one of two political assassinations last week.
Aarón Varela, a pre-candidate for mayor in Santa Clara Ocoyucan, Puebla, was shot at least twice Thursday while driving his pickup truck. The 55-year-old had hoped to represent the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena party, on the ballot.
Varela was the second politician killed in Puebla last month. The body of José Jairo García Oliver, a National Action Party (PAN) candidate for federal deputy, was found dismembered in San Francisco Tláloc on February 5.
Mexico recorded its most violent year in at least two decades in 2017 but some analysts believe 2018 could be even worse.
The government of Germany warned its citizens late last month that security in Mexico will likely worsen in the lead-up to this year’s elections while the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have also issued new travel advisories this year.
Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo Flores said last week that his government will produce a risk map so that candidates know in which municipalities they shouldn’t venture while on the campaign trail.