Woman mayor Maria Santos Gorrostieta shows scars from two assassination attempts by Mexican gangs
Baring her mutilated body for the camera, Maria Santos Gorrostieta shows the horrific results of two assassination attempts by Mexican criminals
As the mayor of the town of Tiquicheo, she has become a key target for drug gangs who have turned the country into a grotesquely violent narco-state.
But despite being scarred physically and mentally by the attacks, the extraordinarily brave Mrs Gorrostieta remains defiant.
'I wanted to show you my wounds because I'm not ashamed that my body is mutilated like this,' she said.
'There are some that have said I made these attacks up. But I did not and now I show the physical proof to those who have doubted me.'
Mrs Gorrostieta, a mother-of-three, was first attacked on October 15, 2009 when she was driving through the town of El Limone with her husband.
A group of armed men ambushed their vehicle, spraying the car with bullets.
The mayor was left terribly injured while her husband José Sánchez Chávez was killed.
Despite suffering such a devastating loss and battling back to fitness, Mrs Gorrostieta was determined not to be defeated.
She returned to work and had made remarkable progress.
But in January last year, she was once again ambushed by armed and masked men.
This time her injuries were even worse. She had to have a colostomy bag and suffers constant pain.
'Every day I fight and battle in my mind to erase the memories of the terrible things I lived through,' she said.
Recovery: Mrs Gorrostieta will be scarred for life after the shootings
'But I can't quit, not when I have three children whom I have to teach by example.
'Beside that I have the memories of my husband, the father of my children who knew how to teach the value of things and fight for them.
'He is no longer with us but he remains the guiding light for my decisions.'
Mexico has been torn apart by a spate of gang violence linked to drugs. More than 30,000 peopl ahve been killed in clashes between rival drug cartels and security forces since President Felipe Calderon launched his drug offensive in 2006.
The country's mayors have become prominent targets.
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