- Anel Bueno, 38, was snatched in Pacific coast town
- Area important for drug cartels is country’s murder capital
Tom Phillips Latin America correspondent
Indira Vizcaíno, centre, tweeted of her local party colleague Anel Bueno: ‘Your departure hurts me deeply – I’m saddened not just by the fact but by the cruelty.’ Photograph: Tom Phillips/The Guardian
The body of a missing Mexican congresswoman has been found in a shallow grave more than a month after she was abducted by armed men while raising awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.
Anel Bueno, a 38-year-old lawmaker from the western state of Colima, was snatched on 29 April in Ixtlahuacán, a town on a stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast that the drug trade has made one of the country’s most murderous regions.
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told reporters on Wednesday a suspect had been detained over the killing of Bueno, who was a member of his party, Morena.
“We still don’t know the causes,” López Obrador added.
Indira Vizcaíno, a local politician from the same party, tweeted: “Your departure hurts me deeply – I’m saddened not just by the fact but by the cruelty.”
Vizcaíno, another López Obrador ally, said authorities were fighting to catch the killers “and bring justice – for this case and all of our country’s victims”.
Ixtlahuacán is a 30-minute drive from Tecomán, a picturesque seaside town that has earned the unenviable reputation as Mexico’s most murderous municipality because of its strategic position for drug smuggling cartels.
In 2017 Tecomán’s murder rate of a reported 172.5 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants resembled that of a war zone. Last year more than 100 clandestine cemeteries were found there containing the bodies of those who had dared cross the cartels.
Colima is one of five Mexican states the United States state department urges travellers against visiting.
During a 2018 interview with the Guardian, Vizcaíno backed one of the key pledges López Obrador made to Mexicans ahead of his election that year – that efforts to combat organised crime would start to tackle the social roots of crime and no longer “just be a matter of fighting fire with fire”.
“Crime rates aren’t going up because the people feel like being bad. Crime rates are going up because people need to eat,” Vizcaíno said at a restaurant in Colima’s capital that was the scene of a 2015 assassination attempt on its ex-governor.
Bueno had been attempting to raise awareness of Covid-19 prevention techniques when armed men swept into the area on pickup trucks and ordered her inside.
During a 2018 interview Tecomán’s mayor, Elías Lozano, blamed the bloodshed blighting the region on “the lack of honest politicians”.
“That’s the root of it all. Politicians had the choice of deciding between staying on the sidelines or getting involved – and many decided to get involved because there were economic benefits,” he said.