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In a world of cardboard heroes with make believe accomplishments the real thing is hard to find. It is not that they do not exist but rather the fact that real heroism is so rare, and imitation heroism so common, means that real heroes and heroines are often overlooked. Their sacrifices reduced to bylines meant to sell a few papers and then forgotten. Some, like the firefighters of 9/11, get the recognition they deserve but most do not. Such is the lot of Mexico’s mayors.

On the front lines of a war that has claimed the lives of thousands, most of the country’s mayors have seen fit to keep a low profile. An act of survival in a world where the rules of civilized society are often abandoned. Amongst this group a few have stood out, willing to risk all for their cities and fellow citizens. Standing in the breech against an onslaught they know will likely cost them their lives they epitomize what it really means to be a hero. Maria Santos Gorrostieta was just such a mayor.

Shortly after being elected Mayor in 2008 an attack by the drug cartel cost her husband’s life. That attack would not be the last, three months later she was severely wounded when, in a hail of gunfire, the would be assassins struck again. Standing as she said for “her ideas,” she was not deterred. With a heart that beat with love for her town, for her people and for what was right, she stood her ground. Unfortunately for her as it is with most true heroes, the odds and time were against her. On November 12th as she drove her daughter to school she was grabbed out of her car, fighting at first she offered to go willingly if they did not touch her daughter. Her family hoping it was all for money, waited two days for a ransom demand before calling authorities. It would all be in vain, there would be no escape this time. The heroine of Tiquicheo appears to have endured five days of torture and abuse before finally being murdered and tossed beside a roadway.

The Mayor was a victim of drug war she had fought on her own terms. Valiant in life, courageous in death, she exemplified the phrase “no greater love.” Though police protection had been withdrawn in January she did not forsake her duties or her mission. Where others would have quit or went into hiding she stood her ground. What medal can give such bravery justice? What plaque or monument could do more to sanctify her memory than her blood already has?

In Mexico the cartels are a disease, a plague and stain on the face of humanity. Mayor Maria Santos Gorrostieta was not the first to pay the ultimate price for standing against them and will likely not be the last. Her and the other mayors who have died standing up for what is right are heroes not only to their towns and villages or even Mexico but to everyone for whom freedom is not just a word.

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 Maria Santos Gorrostieta

Rest In The Arms Of God

“The Conservative Mind”

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