Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced this week that he plans to travel without armed guards and claims that the people will protect him, even as the country has been rocked by scores of political assassinations over the past several months.
President Enrique Pena Nieto reportedly offered Lopez Obrador federal protection until he takes office, but he declined, saying, “The people will protect me. … He who fights for justice has nothing to fear.”
Lopez Obrador, who is commonly referred to as “AMLO,” also told a large crowd of supporters: “You’ll all be watching out for me.”
Reuters reports that the president-elect’s approach to security “is one of the first signs of how he is breaking from the mold of the typical Mexican presidency.”
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) ranked Mexico as the second deadliest country in the world in 2016 as Mexico’s drug wars claimed approximately 23,000 lives that year.
The number of murders in Mexico skyrocketed in 2017 to over 29,000. Reuters notes that the nation is on track to have an even bloodier year in 2018.
Etellekt, a risk analysis firm, reported this week that 132 politicians were killed in the nine months leading up to last weekend’s presidential election.
“These numbers anticipates a serious challenge of security for peace and democratic governance in these regions, and could debilitate the political party,” Etellekt said.