A mayoral candidate from Mexico's ruling PAN party has survived an assassination attempt outside his home in Nuevo Leon, a reminder of the threats facing local politicians in Mexico.
Eduardo Campos Espinoza (see picture) was leaving his home in Anahuac, Nuevo Leon, where he is running for mayor, when he was approached by a group of men. When he realized they were armed, he retreated into his house and escaped through the back door.
The gunmen kidnapped Campos Espinoza's personal secretary, who they held for two hours. Police sources say the gunmen fired shots and burned part of the candidate's home, Proceso reports.
PAN officials will meet to discuss the future of Campos Espinoza's candidacy, which so far has not been suspended.
InSight Crime Analysis
Mexico's mayors often face threats from organized crime, as groups seek to intimidate the local politicians in order to get them onside or stop them working with rivals. Since mayors appoint local police chiefs, they are key assets for criminal groups who want to gain influence over the local security forces. But despite the fact that they are targets for organized crime, Mexico's mayors often lack the resources to protect themselves with expensive security details.
Other Nuevo Leon mayors have faced threats from organized criminal groups in recent years. The mayor of Garcia, a municipality in the Monterrey metropolitan area, survived two attempts on his life in early 2011. In August 2010, the mayor of Santiago, another Monterrey suburb, was kidnapped by at least 15 armed men in old police uniforms and found dead three days later. He had been advocating for police reform.
Nuevo Leon has become a site of extreme drug violence in recent years, with more than 2,000 homicides reported in 2011. Since the Zetas criminal organization split from the Gulf Cartel in 2010, state capital Monterrey has been the epicenter of the battle between the two groups. Both are thought to have formed deep links with members of the municipal police, as well as judicial officials. The city is an important region to control, as its wealth makes it a key location for money laundering, and a market for retail drug sales, as well as for trafficking drugs over the border into the US.