Marisol Valles García
|Marisol Valles García|
|Born||1989 (age 25–26)
|Current status||Police chief|
|Years of service||2010–2011|
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. 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.
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. Mayors and police have been specifically targeted; some beheaded, some tortured to death.
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
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. 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, and Praxedis G. Guerrero's previous chief, Manuel Castro, was tortured and beheaded a year earlier.
Search for a police chief
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, was the only person willing to accept the job. She was sworn in on 18 October 2010. This attracted international attention, and has prompted news media to call her the "bravest woman in Mexico".
Threats and request for asylum
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. She has since received a work permit in America. 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 Experimental Theatre Club, Manhattan, in April 2013.
Personal life and views
Valles Garcia is married and the mother of a baby boy. She reportedly took the job to change her community. "We're all afraid in Mexico now. We can't let fear beat us", she said after being sworn in.
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. In neighboring Juárez, she was referred to by locals with the iconic nickname "La Adelita".
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