Maria Santos Gorrostieta became mayor of the town of Tiquicheo in 2009, when she was only 33 years old. She recognized the risks as her town was located in the state of Michoacan one of the many battlegrounds in Mexico where cartels, police, and the government are fighting for control.Michoacan is also prized for its access to the Pacific where cocaine from South America and synthetic chemicals from Asia are brought into the country.
While she only served for two years, during that time she was the target of two assassination attempts. The first, in October 2009, she was the subject of the ambush. She survived but her husband was killed. In January 2011, she escaped another attempt but this time she was shot numerous times. After the second attempt she held a press conference showing her wounds and talking about her injuries.
After her term ended last year it seemed all would be over but on November 12, 2012, Ms. Gorrostieta was taken from her car, while her five-year-old daughter sat there, and was beaten in public. While she pleaded that her daughter not be harmed she was dragged away into another car. (Her daughter was left alone, screaming in her mother’s car.) On Saturday, November 24, Maria Santo Gorrostieta’s body was discovered. She had been handcuffed, beaten, tortured and killed.
She was 36 years old. She leaves behind three children.
Note: According to the BBC, two dozen Mexican mayor have been murdered since 2006.
Sources: The Daily Telegraph, The Huffington Post
(Top image: Facebook photo of Maria Santos Gorrostieta, courtesy of idigitaltimes.com. Bottom image: Maria Santos Gorrostieta showing her wounds from her second assassination attempt is courtesy of arklatex912project.wordpress.com)