Mexican mayoral candidate survives 2nd attack

Cancun, Mexico, May 29 (EFE).- A woman who agreed to replace her murdered husband as a candidate for mayor of the southeastern Mexican town of Puerto Morelos escaped harm in an attack on her home, but two bodyguards were badly wounded, authorities said Saturday.

Unidentified gunmen approached the residence of Blanca Merari Tziu Muñoz’s in the village of Leona Vicario, 40 km (25 mi) from Cancun, around 10:00 pm Friday and exchanged shots with the security detail before fleeing.

The candidate was inside with her two daughters and other family members.

“My family and I are fine, upset by the situation, but unhurt and united. We all extend solidarity and unite in prayer for the two people who were wounded, who were just fulfilling the order to provide us with protection,” Tziu Muñoz said via social media.

The two bodyguards – one a member of the National Guard, the other an agent of the Quintana Roo state Attorney General’s Office – were listed in grave condition at Cancun General Hospital.

Tziu Muñoz entered the electoral fray following the Feb. 24 assassination of her husband, Ignacio Sanchez Cordero, who was the municipality’s social development secretary when he was gunned down inside a cafeteria near the town hall in Puerto Morelos.

Sanchez Cordero was set to be the mayoral candidate of the Juntos Hacemos Historia (Together We’re Making History) coalition, which includes the nationally ruling Morena party, in the June 6 election.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds turned out for Sanchez Cordero’s funeral and many of them urged on his mother, Maura Cordero, or his widow to take his place on the ballot.

Tziu Muñoz ultimately agreed and refused to drop her candidacy even after gunshots rang out during a May 5 campaign rally as assailants trying to get within striking distance of the candidate clashed with police.

The second attack on Tziu Muñoz took place hours after a rival mayoral hopeful disclosed that her sister had been arrested in connection with the slaying of Sanchez Cordero.

“My sister, Karla Vivas Medina, was arrested by state police, ostensibly for carrying a firearm. However, they tell us now that they are trying to link her with the assassination of Sanchez Cordero,” candidate Yazmin Vivas Medina said in a statement Friday.

At least 89 politicians, including 35 candidates, have been killed since the current electoral season began last September, according to figures compiled by communication and risk-analysis consultants Etellekt.

The violence in Puerto Morelos may be due to the economic and strategic importance of Mexico’s newest municipality, which was founded in 2016 and is home to wells that provide drinking water to all of Cancun, the country’s biggest tourist destination.

More than 93 million Mexicans will be eligible to cast ballots on June 6 in an election where control of the federal Congress and 15 state governorships will be at stake, along with seats in 30 state legislature and 1,900 mayoralties. EFE lc/dr

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