Alejandro Aparicio Santiago was looking forward to making a difference as he assumed his new role of mayor in Tlaxiaco, a town in Mexico's southern state of Oaxaca. But he only served two hours on the job before he was shockingly removed from office after being assassinated by an unknown posse of men.
The newly sworn-in mayor was on his way to his very first official meeting at Tlaxiaco's city hall when a group of gunmen took aim. After he was gunned down, Santiago was transported to a nearby hospital but could not be saved and died there. Not only was the mayor murdered, but four other people were injured in the ambush outside City Hall. According to the New York Post, Santiago was a member of the National Regeneration Movement.
María Ascención Torres Cruz, another politician belonging to the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was tragically killed Sunday in the state of Morelos.
Government officials with Oxaco announced the death on Twitter, stating, "Que en paz descanse," which means "Rest in peace" in Spanish, noted the NPR. Gov. Alejandro Murat vowed that a "thorough investigation" would be conducted. He also confirmed that a suspect already was in custody.
President Obrador's biggest selling point during his political campaign was to restore order to the tumultuous region. He formed a National Guard and opted not to be surrounded with a heavy security presence. He traveled in a Volkswagen and used unarmed citizens for his protection, the NPR noted.Being a government official in parts of Mexico appears to be a hazardous occupation. According to the consulting firm Etellekt, 175 politicians were murdered between September 2017 and August 2018, the New York Post shared. Mayors tend to become more of a target after they reign in corruption and local crime, or sometimes because they decide to side with drug cartels and end up being pursued by those cartels' rivals, revealed an analysis in the Economist magazine.
While Oaxaca doesn't have a strong gang presence, the New York Post explained, mayors have been targeted and murdered over land disputes there. Tlaxiaco happens to be the hometown of Yalitza Aparicio, star of the film Roma, noted CBS News.
Mexico, in general, has become a dangerous place for journalists, CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez declared in 2017. The Committee to Protect Journalists said that 100 journalists had been killed in a 25-year span as they covered cartel violence and government corruption. There also has been a rash of killings involving tourists there, too.