In Mexico, Indiscriminate Violence Shatters Lives

NPR, 12/29/2010

Jaime Aragon met his wife, Maria Luisa, at a restaurant he used to own. She walked in with wavy, jet black hair, pretty eyes and a radiant smile. Aragon was smitten. They shared a passion for cooking and loved Mexican country star Vicente Fernandez. A few months after they met, the couple married on Valentine’s Day.

“She had a unique smile that brought warmth to everybody, made everyone feel happy and welcome,” Aragon says.

Maria Luisa also was very charitable, and once a month she would visit a struggling family in a poor barrio in Juarez.

“So my wife would get together clothes for them, medicines, food, and we would take them a little bit of money,” he says.

Last year, on Dec. 9, Maria Luisa was picking up medical supplies for that family. She and her pastor drove to a local hospital.

“And so she left him at the door. And when she went and parked, a car drove up and opened fire, and they killed her,” her husband recalls.

She is one of the more than 30,000 people killed in the past four years in Mexico’s war with drug cartels; in 2010 alone, more than 3,000 died. Many of those killed are involved in criminal gangs. But many others, such as Maria Luisa, were not.

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