Just four months ago, 20-year-old mother and college student Marisol Valles Garcia decided she had enough of drug violence in her hometown of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero, Mexico, which sits just across the border from Texas. So, with little experience, a few semesters of college and a young son, she stepped into one of the most dangerous jobs in her country: police chief.
Today, there are unconfirmed reports that she has stepped down and is seeking asylum in the U.S.
Valles Garcia had reportedly been receiving death threats for months. She had taken a few days off to care for her sick son, other reports say, but an unnamed relative told the NY Post that she and her son had fled to the U.S.
Valles Garcia stepped into the role that got her named “The Bravest Woman in Mexico” in November 2010. After her predecessor’s head had been left outside the police station a year before that, no one would take on the job as top law enforcement officer.
In a public statement, she said she had become fed up, according to ABC News.com:
“I’m doing this for my people,” she said then. “This is not for me. I’m tired of all the drug violence.”
The drug violence in Mexico is out of control, so much so that President Obama addressed it when he spoke with Mexican President Felipe Calderon recently.
I hope Valles Garcia and her son are granted asylum and get help establishing lives in the U.S. Her attempt to stick her neck out and do something about violent crime in her tiny hometown was beyond brave — it was a desperate attempt to bring about change for the town and the place where she had intended to raise her son. I only hope that her escape didn’t come too late.
Photo: neorepublica.com via wikimedia commons