22 | MAR | 2019
A challenge for the State
Community police in Guerrero - Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

A challenge for the State

Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The involvement of organized crime in Mexico's 2018 General Election has turned it into the most violent election in Mexican history

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For this year's election, attention has been mostly focused on the presidential campaigns while local elections have fallen to the background even when here we also have events which challenge the democratic viability of our country. Organized crime has been meddling in these elections like never before, making them the most violent in Mexican history.

Fernando Purón Johnston, a candidate running for federal deputy for the center-right Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was murdered a few days ago in broad daylight after debating with his rivals in the Coahuila University. The images of the event show a killer who wasn't fazed by the video cameras recording him, or by the presence of the groups of people close to the candidate – he acted with impunity and before several witnesses.

The crux of the matter is that organized crime has been looking to impose their law throughout the current election: organized crime isn't being stopped by the legal consequences of its actions because criminals are in a position to come face to face with government institutions,  whether due to to the weapons they have at their disposal or the capture of their representatives. We're talking about a deep rupture in the social and cultural weave of our society as a characteristic note of this electoral contest.

Therefore, it is clear for all of us that the Mexican State is living a challenge launched by organized crime. That is, not only has organized crime appropriated several areas of our national territory but now criminals seek to preserve their illicit businesses through the control of public structures, through the imposition, at any cost, of their selected candidates.

Criminal gangs want to appropriate what belongs to us all in the only way they know how to do so: violence, intimidation, or death of those who get in the way of their interests. Not only have 112 candidates been murdered thus far, but hundreds have stepped down due to the pressure of organized crime. This is a dramatic situation for a fragile democracy which needs to be strengthened.

Today, organized crime is killing people in Mexico, destroying families, perverting institutions, and threatening the State. Because of this, it's not only important to give visibility to this tragedy, experienced in many regions of the country where criminals rule, but also to warn about the seizure of institutions, which has been in progress for quite some time. Authorities together with government agencies, businessmen, and civil society should become aware of this situation as soon as possible and act adequately. Later on, it will be too late.


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