Mexican criminal insurgents assassinate candidate for governor across from Texas


A leading Mexican gubernatorial candidate was killed early Monday in a state bordering Texas, in the highest-level assassination of a politician here since President Felipe Calderón declared war on drug cartels in 2006.

The killing of Rodolfo Torre, who was seen as a shoo-in for governor in Tamaulipas, represents an escalation of the drug traffickers' war against the Mexican state.

"This is an attack not only against one citizen, but against all society; an attack not just on one politician, but against all politicians and our political institutions," Mr. Calderón said in a televised address.

Mr. Torre, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which governed Mexico until 2000, and at least three others were killed when his campaign convoy was ambushed by gunmen on a rural highway in Tamaulipas state.

The candidate, his chief of staff, campaign chief and at least one bodyguard died, officials said. Televised images showed several bodies, covered in white sheets, laid out on the pavement near the candidate's convoy of bullet-riddled SUV's. Mr. Torre and the others are believed to have fled their cars during the attack, but didn't get far.

Mr. Torre, a 46-year-old former doctor and father of three, was leading opinion polls by an average of 20 percentage points for elections on July 4. Twelve of Mexico's 30 states are due to elect new governors and mayors on Sunday.


"This is a direct challenge to the Mexican state," said Ardelio Vargas, a PRI deputy and head of the national defense committee in Mexico's lower house. "This is an armed group trying to tell Mexicans who we can and can't elect." Mexico's leading political parties vowed to go ahead with Sunday's vote. There was no word of a replacement candidate for the PRI.


The challenge to the Mexican state has been going on for years. This is just an escalation, and it is probably not the last. The Mexican army and the police need a coordinated counterinsurgency strategy where they protect the people. If they do that they will get the intelligence to defeat the criminals running the drugs and doing the murders. Right now the insurgents are doing a good job of intimidating the people and in many cases the police. Until that situation changes, it is unlikely that things will get better.

There is more on the event in the Valley Morning Star.


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