The last time you got upset with something that was happening locally, what did you do? Maybe you called alocal politician, or signed a petition, or maybe you joined a Facebook group. Well that’s nothing compared to Práxedis G. Guerrero’s police chief, Marisol Valles Garcia. Garcia attracted international acclaim as the “bravest woman in Mexico.”
Why, you ask? She took the post of sheriff in October 2010, at the age of 20. And it wasn’t because of a deep-seated passion for local government; she took it because she was fed up with what’s going on in her town. Garcia is not exactly unqualified; she’s working on her degree in criminology, but her passion – and everyone else’s fear – made her qualified enough to be appointed chief of police.
Práxedis G. Guerrero is not necessarily a famous town, but it is the neighboring city of Juarez. Yeah, that Juarez. And Juarez’s drug problem spilled over into the previously sleepy town of Práxedis G. Guerrero. Two rival drug cartels, Sinaloa and Juarez, are fighting for supremacy in her town.
She’s certainly brave, but it doesn’t mean she’s not in danger. Garcia’s police force is only 12 officers, one patrol car, three rifles and one pistol: all of that to defend the town against the ferocity of rivaling gangs.
But the important thing to remember is that she has been vigilant, was the only person to accept the position and has vowed to focus on preventing gangs from forming, not to attacking the current ones. After being sworn in she said, “We are doing this for a new generation of people who don’t want to be scared anymore.”
–By Sam Howard