Violence has surged this month in Mexico's coastal state of Guerrero, with the latest attacks targeting homosexuals at Sunday's Gay Queen (La Reina Gay) Festival near the popular tourist city of Acapulco.
Gunmen reportedly stormed the festival in the rural area of Tres Palos outside of the city, killing three people and wounding another five. According to local media reports, the deceased were all males aged between 23 and 33.
According to statistics released earlier this year, Mexico ranks as the second worst country worldwide for homophobic crimes (Brazil came in first). In the last 19 years, there have been 1,218 homicides with homophobic undertones in Mexico, with the largest group of victims being men, according to the group Citizens’ Commission Against Homophobic Hate Crimes.
However, homophobia is not the only violence plaguing the state of Guerrero. Earlier this month, a wave of threats among Acapulco schools forced over 50 state schools to close due to security reasons. According to teachers, criminals threatened to attack classes if they were not given part of their pay packets.
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As of Monday, 25 of those schools remained closed, according to local media reports.
Meanwhile, armed individuals attacked spectators at a clandestine cockfighting event, killing 12 people including two children. Three other people were also killed in a separate mass shootout that broke out between local gangs and more than 100 members of a community police force, according to reports by The Guardian.
The surge in violence has taken off just one year after 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher's training school were disappeared in the same state. Despite the national and international attention the case generated, highlighting the violence in Guerrero and Mexico itself, the state continues to be ruled by such hostility.
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Mexican newspaper Reforma reported that at least 50 murders have been committed in the state since Oct. 27, when the new state governor, Hector Astudillo, took office. Astudillo replaced the former Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) government with the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), bringing it back to power after a 10-year absence.
In his campaign, Astudillo promised “peace and order” but has recently regressed calling the state “ungovernable.”
“What I’ve found is not only a matter that has to do with violence, but ungovernability,” Astudillo said earlier this month, pleading for patience. “With my arrival, not everything is going to stop. That’s what I’ve found.”
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