Mayor Yolanda Sánchez Assassinated in Mexico Hours After Historic Elections

Mayor Yolanda Sánchez was assassinated in Cotija, Mexico, just hours after the country elected Claudia Sheinbaum as its first female president

by Sededin Dedovic
Mayor Yolanda Sánchez Assassinated in Mexico Hours After Historic Elections
© El Heraldo de México/ Youtube channel

Armed attackers killed Mayor Yolanda Sánchez in Mexico, just hours after Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as the country's first female president. Yolanda Sánchez was shot on Monday in the city of Cotija, where she had been in office since September 2021, being the first woman to hold that position in Mexico, according to the BBC.

Local media report that she was shot 19 times and died in the hospital shortly after the attack, with her bodyguard also being killed in the shooting. The police have not made any arrests related to the attack so far. Sánchez had reported receiving death threats after taking office in September 2021.

In 2023, she was kidnapped and released by her captors after three days, the BBC reports. Sánchez was killed less than 24 hours after Mexico elected its first female president, Claudia Sheinbaum, who will be sworn in on September 1.

Sheinbaum, a former mayor of Mexico City, announced she would continue the policies of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with whom she has been a long-time ally.

The most violent elections in Mexico's history

The largest elections ever held in Mexico were also the most violent in modern history.

According to official data, over 20 candidates running for office have been killed since September, while independent research indicates that number is close to 40, according to the BBC.

Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum of Sigamos Haciendo Historia coalition speaks after the first results released by the e© Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images

Before this weekend's elections in Mexico, where Sheinbaum won, Aníbal Zúñiga Cortés, who was running for mayor in the city of Coyuca de Benítez, was killed at a campaign event.

Additionally, mayoral candidate Alfredo Cabrera was shot dead in the coastal resort of Acapulco in the state of Guerrero. These are not the only incidents of murder; according to the Mexican government, 22 candidates for local and state elections have been killed since the beginning of the campaign, the most violent in recent history.

In a video shared by local media, Cabrera can be seen shaking hands with supporters before his final rally in the state of Guerrero. Suddenly, shots are heard. State officials stated that members of Mexico's National Guard killed the assailant on the spot.

According to local media, Cabrera had been under police protection after being targeted in a previous attack in 2023, and now, as the BBC reports, an investigation is underway to determine the possible motive for the attack.

In contrast to official data, which reports 22 state and local candidates killed, non-governmental organizations indicate that from September to May, the number of those killed is 34, with most of the murders linked to drug cartels.

"We are afraid of being killed," said mayoral candidate Ramiro Solorio of Acapulco while greeting residents of one of the city's poor suburbs, as reported by NBC. Currently, he is protected by 15 National Guard members after federal authorities identified significant risks to his safety.

In the state of Morelos, mayoral candidate Ricardo Arizmendi of Cuautla was killed, the state government announced on social media. Officials stated that Arizmendi had not previously been in danger and had not requested protective measures, according to CBS.

In the state of Jalisco, mayoral candidate Gilberto Palomar and two of his assistants were killed in a house, as announced by state security coordinator Ricardo Sánchez Beruben on social media. Just last week, nine people were killed in two attacks on mayoral candidates in the southern state of Chiapas.

Two candidates survived. Earlier this month, six people, including a minor and mayoral candidate Lucero Lopez, were killed in an ambush following a campaign event in the municipality of La Concordia. Last month, a female mayoral candidate was killed at the start of her campaign.

Violence against local candidates is a significant blemish on the legacy of former President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which, according to NBC, confirms criticisms that he failed to improve the security situation in Mexico.

López Obrador dismissed the data showing an increase in attacks as "sensationalism," but the numbers tell a different story. The murder rate in Mexico remains around 30,000 annually, meaning more people were killed during his administration than any other in modern Mexican history.

Former President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador shows a slingshot, stones and pellets allegedly used by the students of A© Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Public opinion polls, as noted by the BBC, gave Sheinbaum and Galvez a significant lead over their male competitor for president, Jorge Álvarez Máynez, and Mexico ultimately elected its first female president in history.

Sheinbaum, who won the election, said: "I understand my duty is to lead Mexico on a path of peace, security, democracy, freedom, and justice." Over 27,000 soldiers, including members of the National Guard, were deployed to ensure safety during the elections on Sunday, the BBC reports.