Aide Nava, 42-year-old woman running for mayor in Mexico’s conflicted southern state of Guerrero, was found decapitated March 11, a day after she was abducted in her hometown of Ahuacuotzingo. The decapitated body was found in the municipality’s outlying hamlet of Tecoanapa with a note signed by Los Rojos, one of the main Guerrero narco-gangs, threatening the same treatment for any politician who does not “fall in line.”
She had been seized the previous day by gunmen who stopped her campaign bus on a rural road. Nava’s family, activists with the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), had long been under threat. Her husband Francisco Quiñonez Ramírez, the former mayor of Ahuacuotzingo, was gunned down by an assassin in June 2014. Their son, Francisco Quiñonez Nava, was kidnapped in October 2012 and remains missing.
Celestino Cesáreo Guzmán, state leader of the PRD, said: “We demand justice. This wasn’t a kidnapping. Clearly they were going for her!” He named several other PRD candidates or activists assassinated in Guerrero over the past three years.
Los Rojos are said to be rivals of the Guerreros Unidos, the gang named in the abduction (and probable massacre) of 43 students in Guerrero last year—a case that has sparked massive protests across Mexico. Guerrero is now named as Mexico’s most violent state, registering 1,514 homicides in 2014. In Iguala, the town where the 43 students disappeared, there were 14 murders in less than 72 hours in the final days of February. Along with eight other Mexican states, Guerrero is set to hold gubernatorial and municipal elections in June. While authorities have not canceled the vote, many doubt that a legitimate election can be held in Guerrero given the level of violence.