Mexican police chief flees to US, asks for asylum

One has to admire the naive idealism of youth: that brave willingness to make a difference combined with a near-total ignorance of the hopelessness and futility of their efforts. I really do admire people like that, because they sometimes accomplish amazing things.

Most times, though, they have to run for their lives:

A college student and mother who was a Mexican bordertown police chief has fled to the United States seeking asylum, one of her relatives told AFP on Thurssday.

Marisol Valles, 20, “received death threats from a criminal group that wanted to force her to work for them,” the relative told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Valles, who has a baby son, took over the job as police chief in the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero in October after two other job candidates dropped out following the assassination of the mayor and his son.

Valles “went to the United States along with two relatives and will seek asylum,” the source told AFP.

Praxedis G. Guerrero is on the Rio Grande border with the United States some 65 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Ciudad Juarez.

According El Diario (link in Spanish), Marisol Valles has sought refuge in Ft. Hancock, Texas. She had even said when she took the job that battling the cartels was not her responsibility, that other Mexican agencies would handle that. She concentrated on what we call “community policing.” Still, the gangs had to show her who was really in charge. She was probably given the usual choice: “plomo o plata” — lead or silver. In other words, a bullet or a bribe. She took the third option — get the hell out.

Probably a wise decision.

RELATED: Other women have taken leading police roles in Mexico when no man would stand up to do the job, but the results haven’t been good. Erika GΓ‘ndara, 28, became the sole police officer in the village of Guadelupe, near Ciudad JuΓ‘rez, when all the men quit. She was kidnapped last December and hasn’t been seen since. In Meoqui, Chihuahua, police chief Hermila Garcia Quinones, 38, was shot dead on her way to work.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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