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Mexico

Mexican drug traffickers agree to stop murdering political candidates ahead of election, bishop says

Pacts with criminals have also been forged in other crime-ridden countries in the region, including El Salvador. Still, it is highly unusual for the church to intervene in the face of rising violence in Mexico.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 1:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 1:49am

Gangs of Mexican drug traffickers have agreed to end their murder spree targeting political candidates ahead of the July 1 elections, a Mexican bishop who claims to have brokered the deal said.

Bishop Salvador Rangel, who has a record of reaching out to drug kingpins in hopes of curbing violence, told reporters he held several meetings with traffickers from different criminal groups in Guerrero state after as many as nine candidates were killed there, several in the town of Chilapa.

His actions aren’t isolated, coming after the leading presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, floated the idea of an amnesty for some criminals in the form of shortened prison terms.

Pacts with criminals have also been forged in other crime-ridden countries in the region, including El Salvador. Still, it is highly unusual for the church to intervene in the face of rising violence in Mexico.

Last year was the most violent this century in Mexico, and murders have risen even further in the first two months of this year.

Guerrero has seen some of the worst bloodshed, including the disappearance of 43 students in 2014, allegedly at the hands of police allied with heroin traffickers.

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Mexico’s federal government criticised the bishop’s taking action independently, while some local electoral authorities reacted more positively.

“There’s no place for doubt here. Laws must be respected and carried out,” said Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete Prida in response to the bishop’s actions. 

He acknowledged the spike in violence in Guerrero and said the government has identified the criminal groups responsible.