In Mexico, Indiscriminate Violence Shatters Lives
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.
Maria Luisa Aragon was killed in Juarez, Mexico, on Dec. 9, 2009, in a case of mistaken identity. She is among the 30,000 victims of Mexico’s brutal drug war. Courtesy of the Aragon family
Mistaken identity is one way innocent people are caught in the crossfire. Many others are killed simply doing their job — doctors, lawyers, police and journalists; among them, an anesthesiologist named Jose Ortiz Collazo, killed July 16. His brother Miguel tells the story.
“He was in his office a block away when he heard gunshots. He and his son went out to see what happened. When he saw someone was injured, he sent his son back to his office to get his first-aid kit,” he says.
Moments later, a car bomb, detonated remotely, exploded. Ortiz was in the center of impact. Photos of the aftermath show him sitting on the pavement hunched over and surrounded by twisted metal and glass. His white lab coat is tattered and bloody. Ortiz only lived a few hours afterward. When his brother Miguel heard the news, he rushed from his home in El Paso to the hospital in Juarez.
Dr. Jose Ortiz Collazo is pictured here as a medical school graduate. In July, a car bomb in Juarez killed Ortiz as he was trying to help people injured by gunfire. Courtesy of the Ortiz family
Go to the link and listen to the husband and the brother talk about their loved ones. Bring a hankie.