Mexican Drug Lord's Brother Arrest Rep. Pic
The amount of political killings by cartels in Mexico has topped 100 this electoral cycle Markus Spiske/Unsplash.

The amount of politically-motivated killings by cartels in Mexico has topped 125 as the country's elections get closer, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

The figure includes more than 20 candidates, where thousands of local and state positions will be filled, marking the largest electoral cycle in the country's history.

In fact, a mayoral candidate in the southern state of Chiapas was killed along with five other people on Thursday, a girl as young as six years old included. Electoral violence tracker Data Civica added that many more have been threatened, attacked and kidnapped.

April was the deadliest month this year, according to government data. The figure is close to the historic high reached when president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly known as AMLO, took office in 2018.

One of the deadliest incidents took place last week, when eight people died in the state of Morelos while they were watching a soccer game. But several others were reported across the country during the prior days. Although authorities didn't disclose the motivations for the killings, a turf war between local organizations was the main lead.

The report describes the situation as one where cartels are expanding their influence and territorial control, as well as their activities. Now they include migrant smuggling and some legal industries.

The motivations behind these violent acts are clear, according to another report by The Washington Post: organized crime seeks to install sympathetic leaders in local offices to further their exploitation of Mexican communities.

The impact of cartel influence extends beyond municipal elections, permeating gubernatorial and congressional races. In regions where cartels wield substantial control, they dictate entry permissions and even constrain public discourse, stifling any discourse critical of their activities.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's reluctance to acknowledge the gravity of the situation has drawn criticism,

AMLO, as the president is known, said in late April that cartels are "respectful" people as they mostly attack each other. "Fortunately, the attacks that happen in this country generally occur between (criminal) groups. They respect the citizens," he said. The Associated Press also highlights that candidates have not proposed drastic changes to address the situation.

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