Advertisement

A candidate for mayor of a violent city in Mexico has been killed as she began campaigning

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A candidate for mayor of a violence-wracked city in Mexico has been killed just as she began campaigning.

Two authorities in the north-central state of Guanajuato said candidate Bertha Gaytán was shot to death on a street in a town just outside the city of Celaya. Mayorships in Mexico often included smaller surrounding communities. The authorities were not authorized to be quoted by name.

Video of the scene posted on social media showed a small procession of people shouting “Morena!” — the name of Gaytán’s party. At that moment, several shots can be heard and people are seen running and falling down.

It was the latest killing in the increasingly bloody runup to Mexico's June 2 elections. At least 14 candidates have been killed since the start of 2024.

Morena is the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who leaves office in September. The June 2 elections will decide his successor, as well as many state and municipal posts.

Guanajuato has for some time had the highest number of homicides of any state in Mexico, and Celaya is arguably the most dangerous place, per capita, to be a police officer in North America. At least 34 police officers have been killed in this city of 500,000 people in the last three years.

In Guanajuato state, with its population just over 6 million, more police were shot to death in 2023 — about 60 — than in all of the United States.

The state has been wracked for years by violent turf battles between the Jalisco drug cartel and the homegrown Santa Rosa de Lima gang.

Violence against politicians is widespread in Mexico. Over the weekend, the mayor of Churumuco, a town in the neighboring state of Michoacan, was shot to death at a taco restaurant in the state capital, Morelia.

In late February in another town in Michoacan, two mayoral hopefuls were shot to death within hours of each other.