Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mayor-Elect Gunned Down in Oaxaca

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 |

From the archives:

A mayor-elect in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca was gunned down, prosecutors said.

Antonio Jimenez Baños, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, was shot twice, the Oaxaca Attorney General’s Office said.

Jimenez Baños was elected mayor of Martires de Tacubaya, a city near the border with Guerrero state.

He was to take office on Jan. 1, when the other 469 mayors in Oaxaca are to be sworn in.

Jimenez Baños was shot in the head and chest, the AG’s office said.

The mayor-elect was an elementary school teacher and also operated a ranch, prosecutors said.

He was shot while returning from his ranch to his house, which is located in downtown Martires de Tacubaya.

Manuel Benitez Manzanares, who was elected to the state legislature, was kidnapped last week.

Prosecutors called off the search for Benitez Manzanares at the request of his family, the AG’s office said.

Benitez Manzanares was abducted by three armed men last Tuesday in Zimatlan de Alvarez, a town located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Oaxaca city, the state capital.

Eleven mayors have been murdered in Mexico this year, and officials say most of the killings are part of the drug-related violence that has claimed more than 28,000 lives nationwide since late 2006.

The mayor of the northern Mexican town of Doctor Gonzalez, Prisciliano Rodriguez Salinas, was murdered on Sept. 23 over a land dispute, the Nuevo Leon state Attorney General’s Office said.

The two suspects arrested in the case told investigators they were paid $6,000 to kill the mayor and one of his assistants.

Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos of Santiago, another city in Nuevo Leon, was abducted and slain by gunmen with help from corrupt police in August.

Several Mexican mayors have been forced to move to the United States for reasons of personal and family safety in the face of threats from drug traffickers and the attacks targeting mayors this year in Mexico.

Mayors from the northern border states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon have moved to the United States, with some taking up residence in that country permanently and others splitting their time between U.S. and Mexican residences, municipal officials said last month.

The mayors of at least six border cities in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas have been forced to move to neighboring Texas.

The threats are continuous in some cases, while the criminals go beyond threats in other cases.

Drug cartels threaten officials to keep them from interfering with their criminal activities.

About 15 mayors have been killed since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Chihuahua, one of the country’s most dangerous states, is home to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.

Some mayors from Chihuahua have decided to live in El Paso, Texas, which is just across the border from Juarez, crossing daily to work, municipal officials said.

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