Mexican presidential candidate stopped by masked men ‘seeking end to violence’

22 April 2024, 09:24

Claudia Sheinbaum
Mexico Elections. Picture: PA

Claudia Sheinbaum was confronted by the group as she travelled between campaign stops ahead of the June 2 election.

Masked men have stopped a vehicle carrying Mexico’s leading presidential candidate as she travelled between campaign stops to ask her to address the violence in the southern state of Chiapas if she wins the June 2 election.

Former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, the governing Morena party’s candidate, remained in the front passenger seat of the vehicle during the encounter, listening calmly with her window down.

Masked men filmed the interaction on their mobile phones and one shook her hand before letting her move on.

The men, who identified themselves as local residents, said they felt “powerless” because the government has not done enough to provide security.

They asked Ms Sheinbaum to take action as president so that their township, Motozintla, along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, does not become a “disaster” like other communities in the region.

Claudia Sheinbaum and the Mexican leader
Ms Sheinbaum is the leading contender in the race to take over from Mr Lopez Obrador (AP)

During her campaign swing through Chiapas, Ms Sheinbaum was escorted by the army and national guard.

The border area of Chiapas has been plagued by violence as the rival Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels battle for territory.

Thousands of people have been displaced as the cartels work to control migrant, drug and weapons smuggling routes and forcibly recruit locals.

Later on Sunday, Ms Sheinbaum confirmed the incident had occurred, but downplayed it and said she did not believe the men were part of an organised crime group.

She described the encounter as “very strange” because, she said, a media outlet critical of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration had first published it.

Ms Sheinbaum has maintained a comfortable lead in the presidential race, according to polls.

A federal legislator from Mr Lopez Obrador’s party who was travelling with Ms Sheinbaum had earlier described the encounter on the social platform X.

Federal deputy Carmen Patricia Armendariz wrote that they had been stopped by masked men from one of the cartels battling for the area’s control, but she later deleted it.

By Press Association

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