Mexico is shocked by the murder of Mayor Ygnacio López Mendoza of Santa Ana Maya, Michoacán, who was found dead in his car in neighboring Guanajuato state Nov. 7. Just last month, he made national news when he held a public hunger strike outside the Senate building in Mexico City for 18 days—demanding more money for his town because of the 10% cut being extorted by the Knights Templar narco gang on all municipal spending. Authorities initially said the death was a traffic accident, but this claim evaporated when the autopsy report indicated “asphyxia secondary to neck trauma”—suggesting strangulation. Pressed for details by the Association of Local Authorities of Mexico (AALMAC), the Guanajuato Prosecutor General’s Office, which had conducted the autopsy, admitted that López Mendoza had been tortured before being killed. During his hunger strike, López told Global Post that he knew he could be killed at any time. “We are on the knife’s edge,” he said. “I can be talking with you here today and in a few weeks you could be reading my death notice.”
A left-wing populist and longtime adherent of Mexico’s Labor Party (PT), López Mendoza was a licensed physician who was known as the “people’s doctor” for his volunteer work with the poor of Michoacán. His funeral at Santa Ana Maya brought out officials from across the state, who all vowed to press for a full investigation into his death. (More at SDP Noticias, Nov. 9; SDP Noticias, BBC News, Nov. 8)
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