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Mayor of Cotija, Yolanda Sánchez Figueroa, Killed in Attack Amid Mexico’s Political Violence Crisis

Mayor of Cotija, Yolanda Sánchez Figueroa, Killed in Attack Amid Mexico's Political Violence Crisis
Mayor of Cotija, Yolanda Sánchez Figueroa, Killed in Attack Amid Mexico's Political Violence Crisis

The mayor of Cotija in Michoacán, Yolanda Sánchez Figueroa, was shot and killed on Monday. She was walking home from a gym with her bodyguard when they were attacked by assailants in a white van. Both Sánchez Figueroa and her bodyguard later succumbed to their injuries at the hospital, prompting the launch of an investigation by state authorities.

The tragic news came just hours after Claudia Sheinbaum made history by becoming Mexico’s first female president. Sheinbaum’s victory was seen as a significant milestone in a country with deep-rooted patriarchal norms and a severe femicide issue. However, her election campaign was marred by widespread violence against political candidates, highlighting the dangerous environment in which Mexican politicians operate.

Mayor of Cotija, Yolanda Sánchez Figueroa, Killed in Attack Amid Mexico's Political Violence Crisis

Mayor of Cotija, Yolanda Sánchez Figueroa, Killed in Attack Amid Mexico’s Political Violence Crisis

Sheinbaum, who will take office on October 1, follows President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose social welfare programs have been widely credited with reducing poverty. Despite these achievements, Sheinbaum faces the daunting challenge of addressing rampant gang violence and the crisis of unresolved disappearances across the country.

Mexico continues to grapple with one of the highest homicide rates globally, making it particularly perilous for women, with approximately ten women being murdered daily. The country also has a troubling record of unresolved crimes, with about 95% of crimes going unsolved in 2022. More than 100,000 people remain missing, with no clear explanations for their disappearances.

Sánchez Figueroa had previously been kidnapped in Zapopan in September 2023, an ordeal from which she was released after three days. Authorities in Michoacán have condemned the attack and coordinated with federal agencies to find those responsible for the mayor’s and her bodyguard’s deaths, emphasizing the ongoing issue of political violence in Mexico.

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