Monday, May 20, 2024

Celaya candidate missing after attack is alive and unharmed

When Gisela Gaytán, a Morena candidate for mayor of Celaya, Guanajuato, was murdered on Monday afternoon in a flurry of gunshots, a member of her party running for city council was initially believed to have lost his life as well. But Celaya city council candidate Adrián Guerrero Caracheo is safe and sound, Guanajuato authorities reported Tuesday.

Guerrero was hiding out with his family and cooperating with authorities investigating  Gaytán’s murder, authorities said.

Publicity photo for Gisela Gaytan, a candidate for mayor of Celaya, Mexico
Gisela Gaytán was shot and killed Monday on her first day of campaigning for mayor. She had asked the National Electoral Institute for protection after receiving threats. (Gisela Gaytán/Facebook)

Gaytán was shot and killed Monday while campaigning in San Miguel Octopan, a community of the Celaya municipality located about 10 kilometers northeast of downtown Celaya.

The 38-year-old lawyer had asked state electoral officials for protection but had not yet received any when the shooting occurred, on her first day of campaigning.

Guerrero, a Morena councilor candidate, was initially believed to be dead as well after Ricardo Sheffield, the party’s senatorial candidate in Guanajuato, said in a press conference that Guerrero was taken with two other injured people to the hospital, where he supposedly died.

Guerrero’s reported death was additionally confirmed Tuesday morning by Rosa Icela Rodríguez, head of the Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC), as well as by  President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also of Morena.

Hours later, however, the SSPC corrected the error and changed the aspiring councilman’s  status to “missing.” He still had not been located, officials said, but he was “not deceased, as reported this morning,” the agency said.

It wasn’t until hours later that Guerrero contacted Morena party officials. The candidate was also reportedly seen at the federal Attorney General’s Office in San Miguel de Allende, according to the newspaper Infobae, asking for protection for himself and his family in the wake of the attack.

As for protection before the shooting, Sheffield said that the National Electoral Institute had granted it to him and Alma Alcaraz Hernández, who is running for governor of Guanajuato — but not to the nine Morena candidates for municipal positions, including Gaytán.

Their requests were turned over to the Electoral Institute of the State of Guanajuato (IEEG), whose officials were informed that their campaigns had not yet begun, he said.

Gaytán had already reported having received threats, said Mario Delgado, national leader of Morena, who attacked the IEEG for “not responding” to a situation that “ended in tragedy.”

Electoral violence in Mexico is most common at the municipal level, and Celaya is a particularly violent city in Guanajuato, Mexico’s most violent state in terms of total homicides — although not per capita.

Celaya is currently governed by Javier Mendoza, who is seeking reelection with the National Action Party (PAN), a party with significant clout in Guanajuato.

With reports from Infobae, Proceso and Expansión

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