Mexico has long been plagued by violent drug wars waged between rival drug cartels who want to get their goods into the U.S. The police forces in Mexican towns try to keep the peace but put themselves at great risk by doing so. In one Mexican town, the police chief is a woman who's only 21, and despite the constant danger facing her, she says she is willing to do the job.
Although Mexican troops have been dispatched to try to keep the cartels at bay, the drug gangs have been known to kidnap and even murder public officials like police chiefs to send the signal that they're in charge.
While some argue it's irresponsible to put such a young woman into such a dangerous job, others say that someone has to do the job, and anyone in that post would be in danger. For her part, the 21-year-old police chief says she is happy to have the job and plans to continue in her post until her three year term is up.
"I am afraid, like everyone here. And I take precautions, but hope is stronger than fear." - Marisol Valles, police chief, Praxedis, Mexico
“It's a risk. But someone has to do this job." - Andres Morales, town clerk, Praxedis, Mexico
1. Where is Mexico?
2. What is a drug war? Why do drug wars occur?
3. Why might people in public offices be targets for drug cartels?
1. Do you think it's irresponsible to put Ms. Valles in this job? Why or why not?
2. If you were Ms. Valles, would you have taken the police chief job? Why or why not?
3. Why do you think Ms. Valles has chosen to remain unarmed? Do you think her decision is smart or foolish? Why?