Maria Santos Gorrostieta remains a “heroine of the 21st century,” as she loses her life in a long-standing feud against Mexican drug cartels.
A former mayor of Tiquicheo, in the state of Michoacán, Maria stepped down in 2011, following repeated assassination attempts.
She was viewed as a brave and honest pillar of the community, active in social work and outspoken against the drug gangs that dominated the town.
Officials believe La Familia Michoacana gang are behind her death, as it occurred on the turf of the quasi-religious organization, Fox News informs.
The way she was killed also points in that direction. She was abducted in front of her daughter, as she was dropping her off for school on November 12. She asked them not to take her child as well.
Maria's lifeless body was discovered on a rural road by San Juan Tararameo workers. She had been tortured and mutilated, and she was partially naked when she was dropped there.
“Despite my own safety and that of my family, what occupies my mind is my responsibility toward 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,” she had said in a previous interview.
2 other attempts on her life were registered, and insiders cite at least two separate incidents which remained unreported.
She was shot seven times in 2009, one year after becoming mayor. Gang hitmen ambushed her, her husband and former mayor José Sánchez Chávez. She was the only one that survived.
Another incident occurred just three months later. Her brother was also in the car the gunfire was directed at.
At the time she fearlessly photographed her scarred body and published the shots in the local newsletter.
“I wanted to show you my wounded, mutilated body. [...] Because I’m not ashamed of it. It’s living testimony that I am a strong and righteous woman, and despite my wounds, I’m still on my feet,” she told readers.
Santos Gorrostieta' death comes after she unsuccessfully ran for Congress in México. She was killed as soon as her security detail was redrawn.