Newly appointed Congresswoman abducted on Mexican highway

Newly appointed Mexican Congresswoman, Norma Azucena Rodríguez Zamora was kidnapped by armed men whilst travelling in a vehicle yesterday, August 14.

According to local reports she was travelling along the Mexican-Tuxpan Highway in Hidalgo yesterday when the altercation happened. Two armed men had approached and shot at the car which eventually led the car to flip, at which point the in-coming politician was forced into the assailant’s vehicle, reported the BBC.  The vehicle’s driver was later found injured at the side of the road and Rodriguez is yet to be located.

Thirty-two-year-old Rodriguez is part of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and had been voted in as the representative at the start of July. She had been selected to serve as Federal Deputy of Veracruz in the lower house of Congress from September 1, known as one of the most violent states within the country.

Prior to the July election, Rodríguez had been serving as the first female mayor of a town in Veracruz named Tihuatlan. She had also been the only candidate from Veracruz to be elected to Federal Deputy. In response to yesterday’s attack, the president of the executive committee of the PRD has since made public calls for Rodriguez to be returned.

So far no group has come forward to claim responsibility for the kidnapping, however, it is noted that the event occurred on the same highway where the Mayor of Naupan, Genaro Negrete Urbano, had been kidnapped just one month earlier. His body has since been found with gunshot wounds. The organisation of the attack, which specifically targeted just Rodríguez has a number of signs that point to organised crime group involvement.

This year is pitted to be the bloodiest in Mexico’s history, and one which continues to see increased attacks against politicians and journalists within the country as well as regular citizens. There are a number of reasons that the figures are set to reach an alarmingly high total in 2018, from lack of police resources to increased corruption within the depths of Mexico’s political system. So far, incoming President AMLO has promised to thwart this once and for all, yet the country eagerly anticipates how effective his war on cartels and corruption will be when he assumes power in December.

It had been reported just last month that over 100 politicians have been killed in the run-up to the recent political elections. A number of attacks, some in broad daylight whilst surrounded by supporters, tend to reveal what lengths cartels will go to if a politician doesn’t agree to turn a blind eye to criminal activity. Murders, sometimes quite brutal, have stretched to online bloggers who comment on cartel activity and journalists, of which the majority of cases continue unsolved. What is happening in Mexico is a direct attack upon the freedom of speech, in an unprecedented and ever-evolving crisis that doesn’t appear to have any straight resolution. Cartel violence has escalated as gangs have fractured and looked to other criminal activity such as fuel theft, kidnapping and extortion. What’s more, the drug trade has also escalated as the rise of synthetic drugs such as Fentanyl (considered over twenty times stronger than heroin) continues to be in high demand particularly in the USA.

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