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Another politician assassinated in Mexico

Gisela Mota Ocampo, who only took her seat as the mayor of Temixco on January 1, was gunned down in her home yesterday.  According to state police commissioner Alberto Capella, two of the attackers were killed by police as they fled the scene and three other suspects were later apprehended.

Although the motive for the assassination of the 33 year-old mayor has yet to be established, the state governor of Morelos, Graco Ramirez, has pointed the finger at “criminal elements.”

“This is a challenge of the criminal elements. We will never yield,” he wrote on twitter.

Morelos is one of the states with the most incidents of organised crime in Mexico and that is due to the presence of drug cartels in and around Cuernavaca, the state capital of Temixco.

If the assassination of Ms. Ocampo is the work of drug cartels, it won’t be the first time drug cartel barons have flexed their muscles.  Politicians, who have lost their lives since the offensive launched by then President Felipe Calderon in 2006 against the cartel, are too many to be counted.  Federal troops were deployed to hit the kingpins in a bid to destabilise the cartels. A move that proved successful, only then, it got Mexico dealing with small groups of regional drug traffickers and a recrudescence of violence.  It has been estimated that between 2006 and 2012, when President Felipe stood down, 60,000 people lost their lives.

However, many observers are critical of the strategy of the then president, which according to them, didn’t address the real issue.  For Edgardo Buscaglia, a leading expert in organised crime around the world, hitting the drug barons “does nothing to deal with the challenge of the criminalisation of institutions that is the main problem in Mexico.  If they keep detaining capos and capitos, but don’t stop the flow of drug money to politics, nothing will change.”

Though his successor, Enrique Nieto, pursued the same strategy and has sought the change Mexico’s violent image, the issue of what many Mexicans call “narco politico” – or narco politics – remains.  It has long been alleged that drug cartels have needed the cover of local police forces to be able to brazenly extort and engage in drug sales.

As for the assassination of mayor Gisela Ocampo, state police says it is doing everything for justice to be done.

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