Maria Santos Gorrostieta, former mayor of the Mexican town of Tiquicheo, was known not simply for being a major politician and mother of three, but for her unabashed stance against corruption and crime during her time in office from 2008-2011. She survived two assassination attempts, one of which claimed her husband and left her with dramatic scars, and still continued to fight against the cartels which dominate many Mexican cities. Recently, the cartels decided to exact their revenge.
It may sound like a Hollywood plot, but these events were all too real for Gorrostieta, who was recently cornered by thugs while driving her daughter to school, pulled from her vehicle, and beaten in the street. Begging her attackers to spare her daughter, she got into their white van without protest, and wasn’t seen again until several days later, when her mutilated body was found in a ditch a few days later. According to the New York Post:
Parts of Mexico have become a no-man’s-land, where legal authorities fear to tread and death comes cheap. Over the weekend, 19 bodies were found in the northern border state of Chihuahua, including those of eight people who had been tortured and killed on Friday. Many of the dead have been victims of the drug cartels, which have increasingly included elected and appointed officials. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a war on the cartels six years ago, about two dozen mayors have been murdered.
Gorrostieta was one of at least seven women who were willing to serve as mayors or police chiefs. Two of them, Hermila Garcia Quinones and Silvia Molina, were assassinated. A third, Erika Gandara, was kidnapped and is feared dead, and a fourth, Marisol Valles Garcia, 21, left her job and fled to the United States.
Obviously, it is an utter tragedy that the spirit of chaos reigns supreme in Mexico. One must wonder if the security detail and police escort, which were pulled after Gorrostieta left her position, would have saved her life. It is a shame that a woman so fearless essentially had to choose between WitSec and death, all because she refused to be bullied by local crime lords. She stands as an example of integrity and courage for all world leaders, and, in fact, for all of us.