This took my breath away. Marisol Valles Garcia, a 20-year-old criminology student has been named the Mayor of Guadalupe, a violent Mexican border town where a former Mayor was murdered in June.
Valles is in school in Ciudad Juarez, about 35 miles from Guadalupe. Along with the death of the town's mayor, police and security officers have been killed and some beheaded. Just last week in Guadalupe, a high-traffic crossing point for drugs into the U.S., eight were killed. The city is the second most violent city after Juarez according to this account.
When a local newspaper asked the student if she feared for her life, she had this to say (as translated by The Upshot): Afraid? Everyone is afraid and it's very natural. What motivates me here is that the project [to make the community safer] is very good and can do a lot for my town. I know that we are going to change and remove this.I think of my son when he was 20 and can't begin to understand what Marisol's family must be feeling.
Update: 10-23-10: I learned today that Marisol is mother to a son.
"The weapons we have are principles and values, which are the best weapons for prevention," she told CNN. "Our work will be pure prevention. We are not going to be doing anything else other than prevention." It's possible that she's just accepting the limitations of her post: She only has 13 officers, one police car, three rifles and one pistol at her disposal. But it does seem that she is intentionally bringing a new ethos to the department. "I'm not going after the 'malos' (bad ones); that's the federal police and soldiers' responsibility," she said. "We're going after the good ones, like children, parents, men and women who we have to organize so they don't fall prey to the temptation of crime, drugs and easy money."
"I took the risk because I want my son to live in a different community to the one we have today."
Posted by Maggie @ Maggie's Notebook