Election day tensions high in Mexico cartel heartland

In the mountains of Mexico’s Guerrero state, self-defense forces armed with rifles kept watch in legislative elections Sunday following a bloody campaign that claimed the lives of eight politicians in the region alone.

Yet for residents of the impoverished region, home to more than a dozen warring drug cartels, danger is a part of everyday life, not just on polling day.

Francisca Alvarido raised her eyebrows and widened her eyes when describing the insecurity that people in her community in the municipality of Chilapa face due to criminal gangs.

“The police are up there. They don’t come down here,” the 41-year-old Nahua indigenous woman said quietly, pointing to villages in the mountains.

A man leaving the polling station put on dark glasses and asked not to be named as he spoke about the fear gripping the region.

“There are many threats everywhere. It’s terrible. There’s no respect for anything. Everything is very difficult around here,” he said.

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