(Via Daily Mail) The body of a woman once called a ‘heroine of the 21st century’ for fearlessly standing up to Mexico’s brutal drug cartels has been found beaten to death at the side of a road.
Dr Maria Santos Gorrostieta, 36, was the former mayor of Tiquicheo, a rural district in Michoacan, west of Mexico City. She leaves behind three sons.
Her second husband, Nereo Delgado Patinoran, is alleged to be missing.
She famously survived two assassination attempts by narcotics gangs who have turned the country into a war zone.
Dr Gorrostieta had seen her government security team withdrawn in November last year, and then her police escort in January.
Her brave defiance may have cost the mother-of-three her life. The official cause of death was a blow to the head but she had been stabbed, her legs and hands had been bound and her waist and chest were covered in burns, suggesting she had been tortured.
She was discovered by residents of the community of San Juan Tararameo, Cuitzeo Township, who were heading to work in the fields.
Her family had reported her missing on November 14, and the disappearance was being investigated by the Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Institution.
A murder investigation has now been launched.
The first assassination attempt was while in October 2009 when the car she was travelling in with her first husband Jose Sanchez came under fire from gunmen in the town of El Limone.
The attack claimed his life but Gorrostieta lived. An attempt had been made on Sanchez’s life earlier that year, but he managed to escape the armed mob who came after him.
The next attempt on her life was just three months later, when an masked group carrying assault rifles ambushed her on the road between Michoacan and Guerreo state. The van she was traveling in was peppered by 30 bullets. Three hit her.
This time Gorrostieta’s injuries were more severe, leaving multiple scars and forcing her to wear a colostomy bag. She was left in constant pain.
A reporter was also wounded in the attack, as well as her press officer and brother.
In a famous act of defiance, she posed for pictures showing the extent of her horrifying wounds to draw attention to the brutality the drug gangs routinely mete out to their opponents.
In a statement to the public made at the time, the devout Catholic said: ‘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 sons, 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.
‘Although he is no longer with us, he continues to be the light that guides my decisions.’
She added: ‘I struggle day to day to erase from my mind the images of the horror I lived, and that others who did not deserve or expect it also suffered.
‘I wanted to show them my wounded, mutilated, humiliated body, because I’m not ashamed of it, because it is the product of the great misfortunes that have scarred my life, that of my children and my family.’
‘Despite my own safety and that of my family, what occupies my mind is my responsibility towards my people, the children, the women, the elderly and the men who break their souls every day without rest to find a piece of bread for their children.
‘Freedom brings with it responsibilities and I don’t dare fall behind. My long road is not yet finished – the footprint that we leave behind in our country depends on the battle that we lose and the loyalty we put into it.’ (read more)