Mexico goes to the polls amid violence
MEXICO CITY — As Mexican voters went to the polls to pick new state and local leaders, presumed enforcers for drug gangs hung four bodies from overpasses before dawn Sunday in the city of Chihuahua, the capital of its namesake state, which includes violence-wracked Juarez.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for seven decades before voters threw it out a decade ago, appeared poised to gain new momentum in elections in which the country’s ongoing drug cartel violence has been the major issue.
The results are likely to be a gauge of the frustration Mexicans feel over the unchecked violence, in which thousands of people have died, and give an idea of whether that frustration will influence the presidential vote in 2012.
More than a dozen Mexican states held elections Sunday, after campaigning besieged by assassinations and scandals that displayed drug cartels’ power.
The PRI held up the assassination of its gubernatorial candidate in Tamaulipas state as evidence that President Felipe Calderón has failed A woman in Puerto Aventuras, Quintana Roo, casts her vote Sunday, a day of scandal and violence elsewhere in Mexico. to bring security despite the presence of tens of thousands of troops in drug trafficking hot spots.
Leaders of Calderón’s conservative National Action Party, in turn, insinuated that the PRI protects drug traffickers in Tamaulipas, the birthplace of the Gulf cartel, and Sinaloa state, the cradle of the cartel by the same name.
A new scandal enveloped outgoing Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernandez: On Sunday, federal prosecutors said they were questioning one of his bodyguards, Ismael Ortega Galicia, after the newspaper Reforma reported that the U.S. Treasury Department has listed him as a key member of the Gulf or Zeta drug gangs.
Voting lines were short in Juarez, across the border from El Paso. Former Mayor Hector Murguia of the PRI was expected to win a new term despite facing allegations of drug ties since the director of police operations in his first administration was sentenced in 2008 to prison in Texas for aiding marijuana smuggling.