Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baring her mutilated body for the camera, Maria Santos Gorrostieta shows the horrific results of two assassination attempts by Mexican criminals

As the mayor of the town of Tiquicheo, she has become a key target for drug gangs who have turned the country into a grotesquely violent narco-state. But despite being scarred physically and mentally by the attacks, the extraordinarily brave Gorrostieta remains defiant. Gorrostieta, a mother-of-three, was first attacked on October 15, 2009 when she was driving through the town of El Limone with her husband. A group of armed men ambushed their vehicle, spraying the car with bullets. The mayor was left terribly injured while her husband José Sánchez Chávez was killed. Despite suffering such a devastating loss and battling back to fitness, Gorrostieta was determined not to be defeated. She returned to work and had made remarkable progress. But in January 2010, she was once again ambushed by armed and masked men. This time her injuries were even worse. She had to have a colostomy bag and suffers constant pain. Mexico has been torn apart by a spate of gang violence linked to drugs. More than 30,000 people have been killed in clashes between rival drug cartels and security forces since 2006. The country's mayors have become prominent targets - as have women holding office. In December 2010, it emerged that female police chief Hermila Garcia, had become just the latest victim of the bloody war. The 38-year-old had only taken over as the top law enforcement officer in the town of Meoqui two months before her death. La Jefa, as she was known, had taken on the role when no man was prepared to do it.

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