Maria Santos Gorrostieta. Image via golpepolitico.com.
At another stage in my life, perhaps I would have resigned from what I have, my position, my responsibilities as the leader of my Tiquicheo.
But today, no. It is not possible for me to surrender when I have three children, whom I have to educate by setting an example, and also because of the memory of the man of my life, the father of my three little ones, the one who was able to teach me the value of things and to fight for them.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta made this statement in 2010, days after she was wounded when a vehicle she was travelling in was attacked by a gang of men armed with machine guns. It was the second attempt on her life in just over three months. During the first, her husband was killed.
Dr Gorrostieta released photographs of her injuries in 2010 after being attacked for a second time, stating that it was a “living testimony that I am a strong and righteous woman.” Image via informe21.com.
Despite suffering multiple injuries – she was hit by three bullets resulting in her having to wear a colostomy bag – she vowed to continue her work as Mayor of Tiquecheo, while acknowledging that the position made her a major target in the ongoing war between drug cartels that continues to ravage Mexico. It is claimed that over 50,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on the gangs in 2006, at least two dozen of them mayors of small and medium sized towns.
On November 12th 2012, Maria Santos Gorrostieta, having not occupied public office for twelve months, was dragged from her car, assaulted and abducted. She had been driving her twelve year old daughter to school. While her daughter remained physically unharmed, five days later Gorrostieta’s battered body was found dumped by the roadside in San Juan Tararameo, Cuitzeo Township. She was thirty-six years old.
During a meeting with President Obama yesterday, Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto pledged that his government would do “everything we can” to reduce drug related violence in the country. Experts have suggested that he may do this by reverting to the preferred techniques of the regime that preceded Calderon’s – namely to “turn a blind eye to the cartels“.
And there you were thinking this story couldn’t get any more depressing.
RIP Maria Santos Gorrostieta. Your courage and commitment lives on among us, if not the colleagues and legislators you left behind.