Thursday, July 1, 2010

At Least 5 Governors Threatened


Veracruz Gov. Fidel Herrera Beltran, one of the threatened

The governors of five Mexican states have received death threats from organized crime groups, Tabasco Gov. Andres Granier Melo said.

Granier Melo said he and the governors of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera; Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernandez; Sinaloa, Jesus Alberto Aguilar; and Chihuahua, Jose Reyes Baeza, all members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, “have (received) threats from criminals.”

“The federal government has full knowledge” of the threats, Granier Melo said in a statement.

The Tabasco governor attended the funeral Tuesday of Rodolfo Torre Cantu, who was running for the governorship of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas at the head of a coalition led by the PRI and was killed along with four other people by gunmen.

State legislator Enrique Blackmore Smer and bodyguards Luis Gerardo Sotero, Ruben Lopez Zuñiga and Francisco David Lopez Catache were killed on Monday along with Torre Cantu as they headed to the airport in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital.

The candidate’s private secretary, Alejandro Martinez, and brother-in-law, Enrique de la Garza Montoto, as well as bodyguards Aurelio Balleza and Dante Quiroz, were wounded.

The gunmen who attacked the campaign vehicles were armed with large-caliber weapons, prosecutors said.

The two vehicles carrying the candidate’s party were hit by gunfire at around 11:00 a.m. Monday on the highway that links Ciudad Victoria with Soto la Marina, which is close to the airport.

Torre Cantu was heading to the airport to catch a flight to the border city of Matamoros, where he was scheduled to take part in a series of campaign events.

Investigators suspect that organized crime groups were behind the killings, which occurred six days before Tamaulipas and 11 other states are scheduled to hold gubernatorial, legislative and municipal elections.

“All the levels of government must take precautions and close ranks with federal forces,” Granier Melo said, “but the federal government must also provide more support to the states to bolster the fight against crime.”

Tabasco “will not yield” in the war against the criminal groups that are trying to take control of Mexico, the governor said.

Mexico has been plagued by a wave of drug-related violence that has claimed the lives of some 25,000 people in the past four years.

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