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Values versus Violence

Optimize Blog - October 22, 2010 - 0 comments

In a country ravaged by drug trafficking, gang wars, multiple murders, corrupt government officials and departments it is quite astonishing to hear about the latest police chief sworn in to take office for the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero in Mexico.
Before we describe this new police chief it is worth providing some context here. Praxedis G. Guerrero is located in the once peaceful Juarez Valley, just 35 miles south of Ciudad Juarez, the most dangerous city in Mexico, where more than 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since 2006. It is now seeing a mass exodus of residents amid violence between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug-trafficking groups.
Against that type of criminal environment we are introduced to 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia a young wife and mother who is just finishing her degree in criminology.
Many describe her as ‘heroic’ and ‘an inspiration for young women’ and her appointment has certainly gained international attention. So on what basis have the electors made their choice to establish her as the new police chief?
Ms. Valles Garcia says that the community must overcome fear and bring morals and values back to a ravaged corner of Mexico. “Yes, there is fear,” she told CNN en Español Wednesday in an interview. “It’s like all human beings. There will always be fear, but what we want to achieve in our municipality is tranquility and security.”
She says she will take a reverse tactic, using a mostly female, unarmed force to patrol the streets and focus on social programs in schools and community-building. “The weapons we have are principles and values, which are the best weapons for prevention,” she said. “Our work will be pure prevention. We are not going to be doing anything else other than prevention.”
Those ‘weapons’ will certainly be put to the test. In towns such as hers, gripped by violence connected to the drug trade, “police chief” is often the hardest job to fill. Heads of forces are commonly killed off in turf wars between rival traffickers – sometimes because they have chosen sides and support one gang, other times because they are standing in the way of lucrative illegal business. The lead investigator looking into the death of an American tourist in Tamaulipas was recently beheaded. Political candidates have been assassinated. So far this year, roughly a dozen mayors have been killed.
In the traditionally macho country of Mexico the new police chief has many detractors and time will tell if such a radical and non-traditional appointment can be successful but here at Zeitgeist we applaud her courage.
In business life the burden of leadership requires courage – having the courage and conviction to execute our plans, not stick to the status quo and make those tough decisions we are faced with all too often. Perhaps then Ms. Valles Garcia stands as an example to us all providing context around our own demonstrable courage when we are faced with challenging situations or hurdles that currently may appear insurmountable.
We wish Ms. Valles Garcia well and admire her personal bravery and values, regardless of the outcome.

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