Marisol Valles García

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Marisol Valles García
Police chief
Born 1989 (age 24–25)
Place of birth Ciudad Juárez
Country Mexico
Years of service 2010–2011
This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Valles and the second or maternal family name is García.

Marisol Valles García (born 1989, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico) is the former police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero located in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua near the cities of Ciudad Juárez and Guadalupe.[1] In March 2011, she was dismissed from her post after failing to show up for work. Valles and her family fled to the United States where they are currently seeking asylum.[2]

Background[edit]

Since Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on drug cartels in 2006, the country's death toll related to drug crime has been around 30,000.[3] Mayors and police have been specifically targeted; some beheaded, some tortured to death.[1]

In early October 2010, Tancítaro's mayor Gustavo Sánchez was found beaten to death with his hands tied behind his back. Elected in January, he'd stated "The fear is always there, but if you have courage and a desire to make a contribution, that outweighs the fear".

Praxedis G. Guerrero valley[edit]

Prior to the war on drugs, rural Praxedis G. Guerrero, Chihuahua was a quiet town. Two rival drug gangs, the Juárez Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, now fight for control of the region's main highway, making Chihuahua one of the most dangerous places in the world.[1] Residents hide in houses from fear of violence and death. In nearby Ciudad Juárez in October 2010, a gang killed over a dozen people, including children, at a birthday party. Several police officers in Ciudad Juárez have been abducted or killed,[4] and Praxedis G. Guerrero's previous chief, Manuel Castro, was tortured and beheaded a year earlier.

Search for a police chief[edit]

With all but three police officers having quit, mayor José Luis Guerrero desperately sought solutions. After a year without a police chief, 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia, who was a student working on a degree in criminology at the University of Guadalajara,[1][5] was the only person willing to accept the job. She was sworn in on 18 October 2010.[6] This attracted international attention, and has prompted news media to call her the "bravest woman in Mexico".[4][7]

Threats and request for asylum[edit]

Within two weeks Valles Garcia began receiving threatening phone calls with offers to work for the cartels. On March 1, 2011, she received a threat of kidnapping from a man who had harassed her for nearly four months. The same day Valles Garcia and her family fled to America to seek asylum.[8] She has since received a work permit in America.[9] She is currently living in El Paso, Texas. A play called "So Go the Ghosts of Mexico" by Matthew Paul Olmos, based on her experiences, opened at La MaMa in April 2013.[10]

Personal life and views[edit]

Valles Garcia is married and the mother of a baby boy.[11] She reportedly took the job to change her community.[11] "We're all afraid in Mexico now. We can't let fear beat us", she said after being sworn in.[12]

The district has 9,148 inhabitants, and a police force of nineteen. Valles Garcia said she intended to hire more women, and focus on community outreach and prevention.[13] In neighboring Juárez, she was referred to by locals with the iconic nickname "La Adelita".[citation needed]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lundin, Leigh (24 October 2010). "A Fistful of Valor". Crime News (Criminal Brief). Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Robin, Yapp (3 June 2011). "Mexican Student Police Chief Will Live in Fear for Rest of Life". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "More Than 30,000 Killed in Mexico's Drug Violence". Fox News Channel. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Brice, Arthur (20 October 2010). "20-year-old woman becomes top cop in violent Mexican municipality". CNN. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mexican student made police chief". Al Jazeera English. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Winter, Michael (20 October 2010). "Mexico's newest police chief? She's a 20-year-old student". USA Today. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Ordaz, Pablo (20 October 2010). "La mujer más valiente de México". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Lavandera, Ed (23 May 2011). "'Bravest woman in Mexico' seeks asylum in United States". CNN. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Kolb, Joseph (2 July 2012). "Mexico Drug War Refugees Face Long Odds for Asylum". Fox News. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Otis, Ginger (8 April 2013) "Marisol Valles Garcia, 20-something Mexican police chief, comes to New York for play". New York Daily News. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  11. ^ a b Mendoza, Francisco; Sarmiento, Marcela (25 October 2010). "Marisol Valles Garcia is Mexico's Youngest Police Chief". AOL News. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Mangan, Dan (21 October 2010). "Most dangerous job in world goes to gal, 20". New York Post. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  13. ^ "20-year-old student named police chief in Mexico town". MSNBC. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010.