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In Mexico, Local Authorities Walk a Fine Line with Criminal Groups

Tristan Clavel - InSight Crime
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October 14, 2017
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Former governor of the state of Chihuahua, César Duarte (El Debate)

Update: NGO Investigation Reveals Mexican Ex-Governor Duarte Took Cows Meant for Farmers (Associated Press)

Allegations that a former governor agreed a non-aggression pact with criminal elements combined with the continued targeting of local mayors underlines how Mexico's fragmented political and criminal landscape has impacted interactions between criminal actors and local politicians.

César Duarte Jáquez, the former governor of the state of Chihuahua, struck deals with criminal groups, allowing them to operate with impunity in certain areas in exchange for maintaining low levels of violence, according to his successor. Ciudad Juarez, the once-embattled frontier town that continues to see drug-related violence, sits on Chihuahua's border with the United States.

The accusations against Duarte, who is currently on the run and accused of embezzling 79 million pesos (around $4.2 million), were made by current Chihuahua governor, Javier Corral Jurado, on October 10, reported El Diario.

"Even law enforcement institutions, their very agents admit that these were no-go zones," Corral Jurado, a member of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional - PAN) said. He added that criminal groups had contacted him to maintain his predecessor's non-aggression pact - a proposition he claims his administration rejected.

On the same day as Corral Jurado voiced these accusations, Proceso reported that a former Guerrero mayor, Francisco Tecuchillo Neri, was abducted from his home. And on October 6, a Michoacán mayor was also murdered, also according to Proceso. Stalin Sánchez González, mayor of Paracho, a municipality with an indigenous population located in the center-north of the state, was executed in front of his house by several men armed with AK-47s. Proceso noted that the town had seen confrontations in the past between local communities and the Knights Templar, who took control of the area.

According to a report produced by Mexico's National Mayors Association (Asociación Nacional de Alcaldes - ANAC), 99 active and retired mayors were killed between 2006 and August 2017.

Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto's presidencies combined saw more than 100 mayors killed (that includes ex-mayors and mayors who had been elected but were yet to take office).

Most of these killings are concentrated in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Veracruz and Michoacán. The first three are known organized crime hotspots. As for Oaxaca, security consultant Jaime López told InSight Crime that the state concentrates around 25 percent of all Mexican municipalities and suffers from "violent hyper-local conflicts […] concerning land, vendettas, politics" and other "local power struggles" that could also explain the high number of mayors killed.

Read the rest at InSight Crime

Related: Tamaulipas Ex-Governor Hernandez Could Be Extradition Target (Associated Press)

InSight Crime is a foundation dedicated to the study of the principal threat to national and citizen security in Latin America and the Caribbean: organized crime. They seek to deepen and inform the debate about organized crime in the Americas by providing the general public with regular reporting, analysis and investigation on the subject and on state efforts to combat it.


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