Assassinations a Troubling Turn for Mexico

The news today of the assassination of the PRI candidate for Governor in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, is a terrible and troubling sign for the fragile state of Mexico’s government.

Some have already suggested that the Mexican government is fighting an insurgency. I had not been willing to sound that alarm since the drug cartels were primarily focused on money and not directly attacking political parties.

I am by no means an expert on political insurgencies or even on drug cartel violence (that’s for sure). But today’s assassinations to me seem to mark a deeply troubling turn for Mexico’s government. The state of Tamaulipas seems to be transforming into Juarez on a state-wide scale. It has been one of the hardest hit states in the drug war turmoil with several political candidates pulling out of races because of death threats from the cartels. A candidate for mayor in Tamaulipas was already killed last month. The president’s own PAN party will not campaign in the state and the leftist Worker’s Party has asked that the races for governor be canceled in five states, including Tamaulipas because of the “political and security crisis.”

I had a conversation with my husband’s family and a friend from Mexico City last night. They and many other Mexicans realize that their country is sliding into chaos and that no one knows how it will end.  But they all believe that it will get much worse and will probably last for years. One of Mexico’s biggest problems is a completely corrupt justice system where no one is held accountable for their crimes. And Mexican President Calderon seems incapable of fixing such a monumental problem.

Calderon called a hasty press conference this afternoon to condemn the assassinations of PRI candidate Rodolfo Torre Cantu, his bodyguards and staff on a highway outside of Ciudad Victoria. You could see in the video that Calderon and his cabinet were shaken by the killings.

Calderon called it an act of cowardice and pledged to the Mexican people on national television to fight organized crime and bring these assassins to justice. It made a reassuring sound bite for the afternoon news. The incredibly said thing is that no one in Mexico can believe it.

Melissa del Bosque is a staff writer and a 2015-16 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.

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Published at 9:43 pm CST
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