Mexico governor candidate assassinated

A candidate in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas was murdered by suspected drug hitmen.

Mexico governor candidate assassinated

A candidate in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas was murdered by suspected drug hitmen on Monday.

TV images showed the bodies of Rodolfo Torre, 46, and four aides from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which holds power in Tamaulipas, lying on a highway. They were ambushed on their way to a campaign event for the July 4 state election.

It was Mexico's highest-level political murder in some 16 years as drug gangs brazenly fight security forces deployed to quash their power and try to sway Sunday's vote for governors, mayors and local deputies in a dozen states.

"We worry about the collateral effects that this crime could have, like a possible fall in foreign investment," said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, an advisor on foreign affairs to President Felipe Calderon.

Hours after the killings, Calderon blamed drug cartels for the assassination of the candidate.

He called an emergency cabinet meeting and urged political parties to stand together.

It came after the abduction last month of senior ruling party politician Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, who has yet to be released by his captors, sent shivers through the country.

Tamaulipas officials vowed to go ahead with the vote on July 4 despite Torre's murder. "The elections will not be suspended. We are awaiting notification of the new PRI candidate," electoral official Arturo Muniz told Reuters.

Torre, who was married with three children, had 67 percent support in Tamaulipas versus 25 percent for his PAN rival, according to a May survey by pollster Consulta Mitofsky.

A Tamaulipas government official who declined to be named blamed his killing on the fight for power between the powerful Gulf cartel and its former armed wing, the Zetas, who are warring over lucrative smuggling routes into Texas.

A local police official told Reuters that 16 hooded gunmen ambushed Torre as he was traveling to the town of Valle Hermoso, near the U.S. border. TV images showed campaign trucks with shattered windows near the victims' bodies.

Valle Hermoso was the scene of another suspected drug gang attack last month when a mayoral candidate for the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, was killed.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Haziran 2010, 13:58

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