'No more narco-elections!' Mexico elections marred by violence and turf battles

On the eve of Mexico’s midterm elections this Sunday, when residents in 16 of the country’s 31 states and the Federal District (Mexico City) will head out to vote for local and state officials, a surge in violence throughout southwestern Mexico has discouraged some from exercising their democratic duties. (All photos by Diane Jeantet)

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    The mother of a boy who went missing during the May 9-14 mass kidnapping. About 800 officers are expected to be in Chilapa on Sunday to make sure the elections happen peacefully.
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    Family members of disappeared people from surrounding communities gathered in the administrative center of Chilapa de Álvarez, in the southwestern state of Guerrero, to protest against Sunday’s midterm elections.
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    A military vehicle driving through Chilapa’s main boulevard. State and federal forces are were sent to Chilapa to secure the area ahead of Sunday’s elections. 
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    On May 9th, between 200 and 300 armed men turned up in Chilapa, kidnapping at least 22 men during a five-day long siege of the 30,000-strong city.
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    Chilapa is a rural city located in the mountains of the Guerrero state, where marijuana and poppy, used for the production opium or heroin, have been cultivated for generations. The city is key to narco traffickers, who transport their drugs through it.
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    On May 1st, Ulises Fabian Quiroz, the mayoral candidate for the ruling Institutional revolutionary party (PRI, center) was killed by armed men thought to be part of a local cartel.
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    Chilapa is a 20-minute drive away from the Ayotzinapa, the school at which were going 43 students kidnapped last September by corrupt local police officers. The students were arrested in Iguala, also in the state of Guerrero, 150km away from Chilapa.
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    Inside the offices of INE, the Mexican body supervising Sunday’s local elections. Last Tuesday, about thirty people, mostly family members of disappeared people, marched to the offices of the body supervising the elections to express their fears and worries.
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    Chilapa´s City Hall, located on the city's main square.
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    Local office of the body supervising the elections, INE. Residents of Chilapa said they did not want the government to follow through with the elections, where several parties will compete for governorship in 9 states and 500 congressional seats.
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    A mother holding the portrait of her disappeared son. Officially, 22 men have been officially reported missing but locals say the tally could be worse, as many do not report disappeared family members out of fear for retaliation.
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