The mayor of Tiquicheo, a city in the Mexican state of Michoacan, used the one-year anniversary of the latest of three attacks on her to show the public her wounds and vow to continue doing her job.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta showed photographs of the gunshot wounds she sustained to her torso and back during a press conference on Monday.
“I wanted to show you my wounded, mutilated, humiliated body because I am not ashamed of it, because it is the result of the misfortunes that have marked my life … it is the living testimony that I am a whole and strong woman, who, despite my physical and mental wounds, continues standing,” Gorrostieta said.
Gorrostieta’s husband, Jose Sanchez, died in the second attack staged against her in Tiquicheo, which has been plagued by drug-related violence blamed on the bloody La Familia Michoacana cartel and other gangs.
Gorrostieta, who has three children, said she would continue to serve as mayor of Tiquicheo because she had a responsibility “to the children, the women, the elderly and the men who break their souls every day without rest to provide a piece of bread for their children.”
“The internal strength that has moved me to get up moribund, has served to show and make obvious the great commitment I have to my ideas,” Gorrostieta wrote in the latest issue of the city’s Contacto Ciudadano magazine.
The magazine published three photographs of the mayor’s scarred body, with her colostomy bag clearly visible.
“Many people have wrongly doubted the severity of my wounds, but today the proof is in your hands, my mutilated body speaks for itself,” the mayor said.
A total of 17 mayors have been killed in Mexico in the past year, and three have been murdered this month.
Earlier this month, a brief statement purporting to be from La Familia Michoacana said the criminal organization was declaring a one-month truce.
The gang said in the statement released Jan. 2 that it “decided to continue with the withdrawal and not have any activities for one more month.”
The goal is to show Mexican officials “and, especially, the people of Michoacan, that La Familia is not to blame for all the crimes that the authorities and the federal government make public in the media,” the one-page statement said.
This is not the first time that La Familia, considered the largest trafficker of synthetic drugs in Mexico, has announced a cease-fire.
The cartel said in a statement released Nov. 11 that it would withdraw and disband if officials and the security forces took control of the western state of Michoacan “firmly and decisively.”
The cartel’s reputed leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, was killed on Dec. 8.
La Familia Michoacana, infamous for decapitating and dismembering enemies, as well as for mounting attacks on the security forces, broke with former allies Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, in 2005 and began operating independently, especially in Michoacan.
La Familia has carried out a number of killings, including those of 12 Federal Police officers in 2009.
Michoacan, considered the cartel’s main base, is one of the states where the federal government has deployed police and army troops to fight criminal organizations.
The federal operation has resulted in the arrests and killings of several La Familia leaders.