November attack that saw many family members killed. Now, though, Mexico’s Mormon community is coming under pressure from supporters of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who accuse them of backing his enemies.
November’s gangland attack on a remote stretch of road in northern Sonora state killed three mothers and six children from the LeBaron and Langford families, who settled in the region decades ago.
Their vehicles came under heavy gunfire and were torched, with security experts saying evidence suggests the massacre was carried out by a Juarez Cartel faction known as La Linea, and may have a been a case of mistaken identity. Factions of the Sinaloa and Juarez armed groups fight over lucrative cross-border smuggling routes in the area in question.
In the attack’s aftermath, many local Mormons fled back to the U.S., unconvinced that Mexican authorities could guarantee their safety. Others, though, stayed and became vocal critics of both the cartels and Lopez Obrador, who is under increasing pressure amidst a surge in nationwide violence. On Sunday, the AP reported that a pilgrimage by relatives of murdered Mexicans, led in part by Mormon families, was accosted by backers of the president, who loudly heckled marchers.
Among the marchers was Adrián LeBaron, whose daughter perished in the attack, as did four of his grandchildren. In recent months LeBaron and a handful of Mormons have become strident critics of government policy. Julian LeBaron, that the Mormons who dared to remain feel a degree of protection because of their links to the U.S. Nearly all of the family members are both U.S. and Mexican citizens, meaning they can easily travel, or relocate, between both countries.
However, the family’s critics have now apparently grown tired of their increasingly outspoken views, which — as dual citizens with freedom of movement — come from a position of relative privilege.
From the editor.