Where gangs choose who will rule

The Week (US) - - News 15 - Francisco Garfias


Is this an elec­tion campaign or a war zone? asked Francisco Garfias. With less than two months to go be­fore Mex­i­cans vote for pres­i­dent and congress, the “blood is spilling un­ceas­ingly.” Abel Mon­tú­far Men­doza, a mayor who was run­ning for a leg­isla­tive seat in vi­o­lent Guer­rero state, was found shot dead in his car last week, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of can­di­dates or sit­ting politi­cians killed since the campaign be­gan to at least 90. And that fig­ure doesn’t in­clude the sol­diers, po­lice, and body­guards who have died defending can­di­dates or in­ves­ti­gat­ing their mur­ders. Even hu­man rights ac­tivists have failed to de­nounce the

re­lent­less assault on law en­force­ment, be­cause for them the cops are also “bad guys.” At this rate, vot­ers won’t be given a chance to de­cide whom they want to rep­re­sent them. The choice “will be im­posed upon them by or­ga­nized crime,” through the phys­i­cal an­ni­hi­la­tion of can­di­dates who op­pose the car­tels and gangs. It’s not about party loy­alty—can­di­dates from ev­ery fac­tion have been tar­geted. “No­body is safe.” The au­thor­i­ties at ev­ery level look “im­po­tent, even help­less,” against this evil. Our lead­ers bris­tle at the sug­ges­tion that Mex­ico “is a failed state.” But when gangs, not vot­ers, rule, what else can we call it?

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