Mexico: nine dead in Oaxaca electoral violence

Nine indigenous Mixe residents at the remote Oaxaca municipality of Santiago Cho├ípam were killed and some 20 wounded when they were ambushed on a mountain road May 14. The ambush took place near the hamlet of El Portillo as the campesinos were making their way from their homes at La Tani hamlet to the municipal center for a political rally ahead of extraordinary elections called for Cho├ípam after the results of December polling were annulled due to reported irregularities. The community, near the Veracruz state line, is harshly divided between two political factionsÔÇöone led by the family of a former state deputy with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), D├ímaso Nicol├ís, the other by C├ęsar Mateos of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Mateos accuses Nicol├ís of being a “cacique” (political boss) who maintains power over the municipality through corruption and intimidation, despite the fact that it elects its leaders through the traditional indigenous process called usos y costumbres (uses and customs), in which candidates ostensibly have no party affiliation. (Cronica de Hoy, OEM-Informex, May 15; Excelsior, Diario Oaxaca, May 14)

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