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AP PHOTOS: Mexicans choose between continuity and change in election overshadowed by violence


MEXICO CITY (AP) — When Mexicans go to the polls on June 2, they will do so in an increasingly polarized country that continues to struggle with staggering levels of violence across large swathes of territory.

Dozens of organized crime gangs now control towns, neighborhoods and rural hamlets. Mexico’s largest cartels have opened up new violent fronts in far-flung corners like the jungle-clad stretches of the Mexico-Guatemala border. They not only fight amongst themselves, but extort even the lowest on the economic ladder to fuel their illicit enterprise.

Even the Catholic church has been compelled to intervene, attempting to negotiate peace in conflict zones, but seeing its own priests kidnapped and killed.

Mexico’s next president will almost certainly be a woman. Both the leading candidates are women and the third, a man from a smaller party, trails. That prospect has raised hope among some in Mexico’s most marginalized sectors, including Indigenous women and the country’s 2.5 million domestic workers, that their voices will be heard. One of the two women candidates offers continuity. The other promises change.

Other women, the mothers of Mexico’s more than 100,000 disappeared, have less reason to hope they will see change. Outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s policy of “hugs, not bullets” to confront drug cartels has not managed to significantly reduce the killings. His predecessors’ strategy of pursuing drug lords in an all-out war didn’t improve things either.

Some Mexicans are hopeful that either of the leading candidates could accelerate Mexico’s hesitant and limited steps toward clean energy. Most agree that fossil fuel-loving López Obrador, who has maintained an outsized presence in the election even without appearing on the ballot, represented a step back – he built a massive new oil refinery and put clean energy producers at a disadvantage.

His anointed successor, front-runner and former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum has a background in climate science. With much of the country suffering under water shortages and a prolonged drought, there is a certain urgency and thirst for action.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of global elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/global-elections/





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