In stark contrast to a historic achievement in Mexico’s political landscape, Yolanda Sánchez, the female mayor of Cotija, Michoacán, was brutally murdered just hours after the nation celebrated the election of its first woman president, Claudia Sheinbaum. Sánchez, who had been in office since September 2021, was ambushed and shot 19 times by gunmen in the center of Cotija on Monday. She succumbed to her injuries in a hospital shortly after the attack, which also claimed the life of her bodyguard, via CNN.

This violent incident underscores the grave dangers faced by politicians in Mexico, where the general election has been marred by widespread violence. The presidential race, which for the first time saw two women vying for the nation’s highest office, concluded with Sheinbaum’s victory. However, the shadow of violence loomed large, with more than 20 candidates killed since the campaign season began in September. Independent surveys suggest the number could be close to 40.

Sánchez had previously been kidnapped in 2023 during a visit to the neighboring state of Jalisco, enduring three days of what she described as “psychological terror” at the hands of armed men. Though she did not identify the criminal group responsible, local newspapers speculated that the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG) was likely involved. The CJNG, notorious for its brutal enforcement of drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion, targets public officials who defy its demands.

In her role as mayor, Sánchez had received threats demanding that she cede control of local security to state police officers affiliated with organized crime. She resisted these demands, instead calling for military reinforcement in Cotija, and was provided with armed bodyguards.

The murder occurred less than a day after Sheinbaum’s victory in a presidential race marked by violent incidents against candidates. Sheinbaum’s opponent, Xóchitl Gálvez, reflected on the campaign’s tumult, expressing sorrow over the national conditions: “I saw a Mexico with a lot of pain and violence. I wished that she could solve the severe problems our people have,” Gálvez shared during a call with Sheinbaum. Despite acknowledging her defeat, Gálvez criticized the electoral process as biased and hinted at challenging the results, underscoring the deep-seated issues facing the country.

As Sheinbaum prepares to take office on October 1, the nation remains caught between a moment of significant political progress and the persistent threat of violence that challenges its democratic processes.



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