SALVATIERRA, Mexico — In a horrific scene, a Christmas party in Salvatierra, Mexico was interrupted by gunmen who burst in and opened fire, leaving 11 people dead, including Luis Almanza’s son, Galileo Almanza, and a former local beauty queen, Thalía Cornejo. The massacre is just one of three high-profile attacks in Guanajuato state this month, highlighting the region’s descent into violence as it becomes a battleground for organized crime. The violence has sparked political controversy, with opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez Ruiz calling for an urgent change to the federal government’s security policy. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has been criticized for his “hugs not bullets” approach to fighting crime, is facing backlash as public concern over insecurity rises ahead of next year’s elections.
Despite official statistics showing a decrease in homicides in Mexico, the recent string of massacres has brought the issue of security to the forefront of national attention. López Obrador, in defense of his administration, has downplayed the severity of the violence, referring to multiple killings as “the exception, not the rule.” However, public opinion and polls suggest a growing sense of insecurity and dissatisfaction among Mexican voters.
The state of Guanajuato, once considered an island of relative calm, has experienced a surge in violence, with a homicide rate that is the fourth-highest in the country. The violence is driven by a bloody turf war between the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, as they battle for control over contraband gasoline, local methamphetamine markets, and drug-smuggling routes to the United States.
The ill-fated Christmas party, known as a posada, was organized by a group of young people with no publicly known threats against them. The uninvited guests arrived and were later told to leave, but returned with a group of heavily armed men, leading to the tragic shooting.
The series of massacres has left the residents of Salvatierra living in fear and seeking justice for the victims. With funeral processions and marches demanding justice, the community is mourning and striving for a sense of security in the wake of the violent attacks.
In December alone, the violence in Guanajuato has claimed the lives of nearly 20 people in the city of Salvatierra and has raised concerns about the growing influence of criminal gangs in the region. As the state struggles with rising violence, the calls for change in security policies are growing louder, with the upcoming national elections looming on the horizon. The impact of the recent massacres has shed light on the pressing need for effective measures to address the escalating violence and ensure the safety and security of the citizens.