In 1994, the assassination of a progressive candidate for Mexico’s presidency sparked a wave of conspiracy theories. Now, a new Netflix series, “The Candidate”, reexamines the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio and its implications.
Laura Sánchez Ley, an investigative reporter with Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción, says though Colosio was a member of the PRI – Mexico’s governing party for over 70 years – he spoke out against his party on important issues.
“[He] came strong in his criticism against poverty, against power, against the system, something no one would have dared to do in 1994.” Sánchez Ley says. “The tradition back then was to never come against a president, and he did.”
Colosio was assassinated at a rally in Tijuana, and 22-year-old Mario Aburto was charged with the murder and sentenced to 42 years in prison.
Sánchez Ley says the official account of the shooting is hard to fully believe. The candidate was shot twice, once in the head and once in the stomach, a difficult feat for Aburto, who was restrained by the crowd after the first shot.
While Sánchez Ley says the government certainly had the means of killing Colosio in 1994, proving any of the various conspiracy theories is very difficult. Furthermore, she is cautious of stirring up trouble.
“The people who were in power in 1994 continue to wield great influence and power in Mexico’s politics,” Sánchez Ley says. “We need to watch our words. These people still control politics. They still control the destiny of Mexicans.”
Despite the intervening decades, she says Colosio is still a powerful figure in Mexican culture.
“Luis Donaldo Colosio today represents the hope of what could have been,” Sánchez Ley says. “People believe he could have transformed the country.”
Written By Sol Chase.