6/5/15, "Mexican elections marred by pre-balloting violence," AP, Mark Stevenson, via Washington Post
"Violence threatened Mexico’s mid-term weekend elections as radical teachers on Friday attacked the offices of political parties, marched in protest and vowed to block the voting.
The Sunday elections for Congress, governorships and mayorships have already claimed the lives of three candidates, one would-be candidate, and at least a dozen campaign workers or activists.
But unlike the years from 2010 to 2012, when the violence appeared to come largely came from drug cartels, radical movements now appear to pose the greatest threat.
Radical teachers on Friday burned or attacked the offices of five political parties in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the southern state of Chiapas. They broke into the offices, ransacked the contents--computers, paperwork and furniture--and burned it in the street.
In the southern state of Guerrero, unidentified assailants tossed an explosive device at the offices of the conservative National Action Party, damaging the windows.
There have been tense moments in recent days as army and police forces faced off with protesters intent on breaking into electoral offices to burn ballots, as they have done in recent days.
“I think this is the worst (election violence) in a lot of ways,” said Jesus Silva-Herzog Marquez of the Monterrey Technological University. “We didn’t have this level of violence even in 1994, when we had elections at the same time as the Zapatista guerrilla conflict.”
The teachers have issued wildly ambitious demands, including 100 percent pay hikes and the end of a constitutionally-mandated teacher evaluation system.
In the colonial city of Oaxaca, radical teachers have burned ballots and blocked gasoline distribution facilities. Their leaders told local media they would block elections, even if they got the pay hikes. “They are using pressure, not to get any demand met, but rather to block the elections, that is their goal,” said Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University....
“I think organized crime isn’t getting involved in these cases, except in Guerrero,” said Benitez, suggesting the drug cartels may be happy to see the radical movements causing disturbances that would draw police attention away from the gangs.
“The more unstable Guerrero is, the better it is for the criminals,” Benitez said.
Electoral officials have said they will go ahead with Sunday’s elections as planned, but that they don’t want the army called out to protect polling places."
A would-be candidate was beheaded. Current Mexican pres. Nieto predicted to remain in power with help of allies in corrupt Green Party:
6/5/15, "Mexico's election faces disruption as radical teachers burn ballot papers," UK Guardian, Jo Tuckman, Mexico City
"Local media has reported 21 murders around the country directly associated with the elections. These include three candidates and one would-be candidate, whose beheaded body was dumped beside a message that read “this is going to happen to all the fucking politicians who don’t get in line”...
Political vendettas can be hidden behind a tendency to blame all assassinations on organised crime. He also stressed the failure of the authorities to provide protection for candidates.
“Given the prevailing conditions,” Hope wrote in El Daily Post, “the surprise is not that some candidates get killed, but that the number of corpses is not much higher.”
The credibility of the elections has also been damaged by questions surrounding the ability of the electoral authorities to guarantee fairness....
Much of the criticism has centred on the failure to rein in the Green Party’s systematic flouting of campaigning rules, such as the amount of political advertising permitted. The Green party, widely alleged to be among the most corrupt in Mexico, is an ally of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President, Enrique Peña Nieto....
For all the signs of crisis, the elections appear set to produce a balance of power that differs little from the one in place since the last time the country voted, in 2012. Polls suggest that the PRI will remain dominant, and with the help of the Greens, could even obtain a majority in congress."
"Radical teachers' union attacked the offices of five political parties."
6/5/15, "Violence ahead of Mexico mid-term elections," BBC
"There has been further violence around Mexico as the country prepares for this weekend's mid-term elections.
On Sunday, Mexican voters will choose Congressmen, governors and mayors.
Correspondents say it has been some of the worst political violence in Mexico's history.
The biggest concerns for electoral officers have been Guerrero and Oaxaca, where tens of thousands of ballots were burnt by protesters.
They took furniture and papers from the ruling PRI party offices in the city of Oaxaca and burnt them outside. Others set fire to political pamphlets in front of PRI headquarters in Guerrero."...
Image caption: " demanding better pay and a suspension of new education reforms." AFP
Police and army stand aside. "“The only thing that these elections are going to define is what criminal group governs us,” Mario Diaz Navarro said."
5/20/15, "Mexican town besieged by rival gangs, as police and army stand aside," LA Times,
"Since 2008, 24 political candidates have been slain in Mexico, with Guerrero accounting for more cases than any other state. And not just the politically active have suffered.
Jose Diaz Navarro, 52, a teacher, said his brothers Hugo, 32, and Alex, 45, disappeared in November after they were stopped by armed men while heading home from work at a construction project.
“Organized crime has been operating here for at least eight or nine years. Since then there have been armed men on the streets saying that they represent criminal groups, narcos, threatening and extorting people in the market and taxi drivers. And it’s just gotten worse,” Diaz Navarro said.
He and his brother Mario spoke as they sat in the front room of their small house off the main drag in Chilapa. “The only thing that these elections are going to define is what criminal group governs us,” Mario Diaz Navarro said.
Chilapa is less than an hour’s drive from the rural teachers school in Ayotzinapa that was home to 43 students who were abducted on Sept. 26 from the city of Iguala.
The federal government says they were detained by local police, who then handed them over to a criminal gang that killed them. The remains of just one of the students have been identified, and the rest are still missing, despite the unearthing of about 100 bodies in clandestine graves around Iguala over the last six months.
The disappearance of the students caused a national and international scandal, and threw yet more light on the corruption of Mexico’s security forces, the collusion between them and organized crime, and the impunity enjoyed by those who kill and “disappear” people."...