There are hundreds of candidates who have backed out of their races out of fear for their safety, and many others who have curbed their campaign activities. This poses a significant challenge to Mexico’s relatively young democracy, already crippled by systemic corruption and widespread impunity.
“Violence is altering the profile of candidates,” Alejandro Hope, a security analyst, told BuzzFeed News. “Who sticks around? The reckless and those who collude [with criminals].”
The attacks have been brazen. Last month, several commandos went around Ignacio Zaragoza, a town of less than 7,000 people about 200 miles southwest of El Paso, Texas, burning houses and cars belonging to several local candidates. They killed Liliana García, who was running for town councilor. In a video circulating on social media, a large plume of smoke is seen coming out of a building in broad daylight while a woman weeps in the background. In another, rapid gunfire is heard on an empty street.
Less than three weeks ago, Paula Gutiérrez Morales, a local leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in a tiny community in Guerrero State, was shot inside a public bus in front of other passengers.
Culture matters. Imagine if millions of people from Mexico went to live in the US — how might that affect US culture? Clearly there is a pretty wide range of possibilities, from benign to disastrous.