Why You Need to Know Who Marisol Valles García Is

by Jonathan J. Judge ~ March 8th, 2011.

In the hustle and bustle of our busy New York City lives, what’s happening with the police chief of a small Mexican town, located just 50 miles south of El Paso, Texas, might be the least of our concerns.

However, the story of Marisol Valles García, the now-former police chief of Práxedis G. Guerrero in the border state of Chihuahua, Mexico, is one worth our attention because, in many ways, her story could be ours.

In October 2010, the 20-year-old García found herself the only one willing to take on the job of the town’s police chief. Her predecessor had been savagely tortured and beheaded in 2009 by the drug cartels, creating a year-long vacancy for one of the most dangerous jobs in Mexico.

The violence stems from the brutally violent Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels’ battle for control of the state’s main highway to access the cash-laden American drug market. Up until García’s appointment, the cartels had successfully intimidated the older and more experienced men, who rejected the job repeatedly for fear of their lives.

Yet as the men of Práxedis left this perilous task to the married mother of a baby boy and student of criminal justice at the University of Guadalajara, the international media looked on in both awe and pity at the courageous young chief who proclaimed at her swearing-in:

“I took the risk because I want my baby son to live in a different community than the one we have today. I want people to be able to go out without fear. We’re all afraid in Mexico now. We can’t let fear beat us.”

Well, after a six-month stint in the position, reports from the press have indicated that García may have fled to the United States seeking asylum after being sent repeated death threats from the drug lords because she refused to cooperate in their illicit trade.

Now, we who live in the New York City of 2011 most probably have the luxury of not worrying about such life-and-death scenarios beyond the crisis of our morning cup of coffee going up about 20 cents.

But for those of us with longer memories, we know that it wasn’t always the case.

About 20 years ago in New York City, we faced a true crime and drug epidemic, where drug dealers, organized crime, racially-motivated violence and crooked public servants almost destroyed NYC from the inside out.

It wasn’t until communities of civic-minded New Yorkers came together as private citizens and decided enough was enough that chaos gave way to order. In many ways, the election of Republican New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani marked the turning point in the fate of New York City–which represented a complete rejection of the City’s complacency with the failed status quo.

And we New Yorkers banded together to clean our city up.

While we should be grateful that the early 1990’s proved that the renaissance of great cities like New York was possible, let’s be mindful of the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of victims throughout those trying times beforehand that devastated many of New York’s men, women and children along the way.

And that’s why we should never allow ourselves to be so distracted by the problems of today that we fall victim to the grave errors of the past that inevitably return to confront us time and again. What is happening in Mexico is merely a reminder that whatever liberty, prosperity, and safety we have now can dissipate like a puff of smoke if we are not vigilant and willing to take the necessary steps to protect it.

So remember the story of Marisol Valles García, the young woman who showed more courage than anyone else to do what was right and necessary for her community. I have no doubt she chose to flee in the face of the death threats made against her because the people who should be guaranteeing her protection in her job have been too thoroughly weakened or, worse yet, compromised by the cartels.

The questions for each of us to answer is how many of us would be willing to take on the tough job that García did if push came to shove, and how many of us are willing to do now whatever it takes to keep New York City on the right path.

And while we reflect on those questions, let’s be sure to say a prayer for Marisol and her family that they find peace and safety wherever they go.

Jonathan J. Judge is President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club.

(The views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily that of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club.)

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