New Mayor of Mexican Coastal Town Assassinated

On June 16th, assassins killed a recently elected mayor in southern Mexico.

The murder took place in the little seaside town of Guerrero, Mexico, where Salvador Villalva Flores had just taken office as mayor on June 2nd. Villalva was reportedly shot dead instantly by an unidentified assailant while riding a bus.

No other details about the offenders or their motivations for this horrific crime have been disclosed by the Guerrero state prosecutor’s office, which is in charge of the inquiry. Guerrero is the site of brutal conflicts between several criminal organizations that are fighting for control of the region.

Politicians in Mexico have been the focus of an alarming upsurge of assassinations recently. Human rights group Data Civica found that 34 political hopefuls were killed in the months before and after the June elections. Political personalities are often targets in the country’s unstable security environment, which is reflected in these deaths.

Cotija mayor Yolanda Sanchez Figueroa and her security were murdered the day after the first female president of Mexico, Claudia Sheinbaum, was elected. Assassins in a white vehicle opened fire on Sanchez, who was elected in 2021, before fleeing the area. Sanchez was shot nineteen times outside of a gym. The local authorities report that her bodyguard, who was only named as Jesús V, was also killed in the incident.

The Michoacan attorney general’s office said that the assailants fired from their moving car before escaping. The extortion and drug trade have turned Michoacan, a state famous for its agricultural exports and tourism attractions, into one of the most dangerous in Mexico.

The murder is part of a troubling pattern of attacks on prominent Mexican politicians. May saw attacks on many mayoral candidates and other officials, highlighting the dangerous circumstances in public office. Figueroa was abducted in Guadalajara, Jalisco, on September 20, 2023, and freed three days later after having faced similar threats before.

There were reports that her abductors were associated with the drug cartel New Generation (CJNG).