In a country (Mexico) ravaged and run through by violent drug cartels one of the true warriors to fight back was Dr. Maria Santos Gorrostieta. Maria fought the good fight and doubled her efforts after losing her first husband in one of two unsuccessful assassination attempts made by the cartel on her life.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta could be called many things in life – a devoted mother, a strikingly beautiful woman, even a fearless heroine. One reporter gave her the monicker of “heroine of the 21st century”. To know Maria you have to look at her history of work, her survival under deadly fire, and her defiance to the very end.
Fighting the Impossible Fight
In 2006 Mexican president Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels to rid the country of their influence. The results of this has been a bloody road of assassinations, kidnappings, and innocent lives being lost.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta—born in 1976—was a doctor who studied medicine at a university in the city of Morelia. She ran for mayor in 2008 and was elected as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party over the small town of Tiquicheo.
Like other political figures who enforced Calderon’s drug war, Maria was issued threats by the cartels almost immediately but paid them little attention until an assassination attempt was made in 2009 which claimed the life of her then husband Jose Sanchez.
The attack left Maria shaken, mourning her husband, but most of all 100 times more defiant and pissed off. 3 months later in January of 2010 Maria was attacked again en route to a meeting, but her body was assaulted by 3 bullets from the automatic gunfire that peppered her vehicle.
Shaken but not stirred
Maria thought about resigning – like many of us would have, but after some soul-searching, she went back to work — always in pain and forced to wear a colostomy bag.
For those of you wondering why Maria didn’t take the 2 life attempts as enough warning to flee her station and possibly the country, she chose to use the attack to bring more awareness to the problem in her country.
Maria proudly showed her scars to the world and was quoted as saying the following:
“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.
‘Although he is no longer with us, he continues to be the light that guides my decisions.”
“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.”
Death of An Angel
On November 12, 2012 while driving her daughter to school Maria Santa Gorrostieta’s vehicle was blocked off by gangsters who pulled her out and began punching and kicking her in plain view. Begging for them to spare her daughter, Maria volunteered to leave with the men and for the next week her family awaited the customary ransom phone call which was never made.
Maria’s body was found 8 days later on the side of the road in San Juan Tararameo, Cuitzeo Township with evidence of severe torture through burns to her body and multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma. She is survived by 3 children—2 boys and her daughter—along with her second husband.
It is sad that this woman who had survived so much and stood as a living icon of bravery to her people was taken away at such a young age—Maria was only 36 years old—she is the same age as myself writing this… and it brings about a feeling of true reverence.
I do hope that Maria’s death will spark something – I am not sure of what, but something needs to set some motion in Mexico to slow the continuous assassinations of Mayors and people in power by the terrorists that are taking over the country.
It would be a real shame to have a badass like Maria Santa Gorrostieta give up her life for nothing but the least we can do is make sure that she is not forgotten throughout the skeins of history.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.