Mexico’s Green Candidate Maribel Barajas Cortes is the latest in a series of murders ahead of Mexico’s presidential election.
The candidate, a representative of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) was reportedly found dead meters from her vehicle in Morelia, Michoacan. The state’s attorney office said the cause of the homicide is still unknown.
Her identity was confirmed by various papers found in the cherry red Mazda, police say. Several lines of investigation are being pursued as forensic medical experts analyze a number of puncture wounds found on the body.
Only 25-years-old, the young politician was named the PVEM candidate in front of a local congressional deputy just last week, the state attorney’s office said. Her vehicle was located in a sector of Mugica known as the Tierra Caliente, a notorious fighting ground for local drug gangs.
PVEM state leader, Ernesto Nuñez called on the local government to launch a thorough investigation and close the case quickly. Barajas joins the ranks of victims in a recent surge of violence against local politicians ahead of the general elections, which has taken the lives of over 60 candidates since September 2017, Excelsior outlet reports. Most of the cases remain unresolved and without a motive.
A report from the Etellekt stated there have been over 200 attacks on Mexican politicians since last fall with the majority taking place in 29 of the 32 federal states mainly Puebla, Guerrero, Veracruz, Mexico State and Hidalgo. About 173 of the 203 attacks were direct attacks by members of organized crime groups, while 30 were against relatives of the politicians. There were 78 murders reported.
The death comes as politicians ready themselves for the election which will determine not only the country’s new president, but also 3,400 local government officials, and fill the seats of both congress and the senate.