In an act that has become all too common, individuals allegedly affiliated with organized crime have murdered the mayor of a small town in Mexico less than a day since she took office.
The government of Mexican state of Morelos told the Associated Press that gunmen burst into the house of Mayor Gisela Mota in the city of Temixco and killed her. Morelos Governor Graco Ramirez said two presumed assailants died in the attack and two others were detained. Officials attributed the murder to organized crime, but did not specifically name a drug cartel or any other criminal group.
The state of Morelos is south of Mexico City, and borders the violence-plagued state of Guerrero to the southeast. In February 2015, BorderlandBeat.com reported that according to the latest report of the Citizen Council for Security and Criminal Justice, Morelos topped the list of most violent Mexican states. By type of crime, Guerrero in 2014 had the highest homicide rate in the country: 43.67 per 100,000 inhabitants. The rate is three times higher than the national average (13.31).
Temixco is a city of about 100,000 people neighboring Cuernavaca, a resort and industrial city which has been suffering kidnappings and extortion linked to organized crime groups. Though Cuernavaca is the state capital of Morelos, Temixco is the seat of several state institutions including the Public Security Commission, which coordinates state and local police forces.
Elected officials in Mexico tend to have a shorter life span—especially at the municipal level, where police corruption levels are high and cartels tend to have more influence. Maria Santos Gorrostieta, former mayor of the town of Tiquicheo from 2008 to 2011, survived two cartel assassination attempts, only two be murdered in 2012. Between January and October 2010, 11 mayors were killed across Mexico.
Ramirez vowed there “would be no impunity” in her killing and promised that state officials would not cede to the challenge presented by organized crime. However, this promise is dubious at best. The area of Cuernavaca is considered one of the top five in Mexico for kidnappings, according to Mexidata.info. In 2014, Secretary of Public Security in Morelos, Jesus Alberto Capella, together with the State Prosecutor, Jose Manuel Serrano, said they looking into the possibility of the complicity of local government in criminal activity. Capella said, “Criminal organizations couldn’t succeed anywhere in the world [without the help of] corrupt police, corrupt prosecutors, corrupt judges and corrupt institutions.”
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.