Mexico’s presidential election was relatively peaceful, with only a handful of isolated attacks and threats of violence towards politicians. InSight Crime maps where these took place.
Prior to Sunday’s election, there were concerns that the violence that has come to define Felipe Calderon’s presidency would leave its mark on the day. However, as analyst Alejandro Hope wrote in the aftermath of the vote, perhaps the biggest news of all was the violence that never was.
Though there were kidnappings, murders, and threats against candidates during the campaign, this was less than had been feared (see map below). What’s more, the incidents were not clearly cases of criminals trying to influence the elections. The Nuevo Laredo bomb took place in an area where no local elections were being held, while kidnappings of candidates may have been carried out purely for financial gain. Some of the violence may have committed by politicians themselves: a mayoral candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was arrested in connection with the murder of Edgardo Hernandez Corzo, a supporter of the ruling National Action Party (PAN). On the day of the elections, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) was murdered in Guanajuanto, with PAN supporters suspected, according to media reports.
Of course, the lack of major acts of violence does not means there was no criminal influence on the election. As InSight Crime has noted, criminals are savvy actors who can wield their influence beyond the public eye, changing the rules of the game by which politicians operate. It may be that they no longer need to attack or publicly threaten candidates in order to co-opt them.
The map below shows recent violent incidents that may have been connected to Mexico’s elections. The red pins signify where a candidate or party affiliate has been murdered. The blue pins show where politicians were kidnapped, and the yellow pins show where threats have been reported.
View Violence In Run-up To 2012 Mexico Elections in a larger map