Last Sunday, the mayor of Santiago, Edelmiro Cavazos Leal, while leading festivities for World Youth Day, made a special request. Within hours of this request, he was kidnapped, and later executed.
According to Joseph Silver, a correspondent for Millennium, that evening, the 38 year old mayor, despite losing his close personal friend and bodyguard in a questionable auto accident two days prior, was in good spirits. He was in the town he loved, with the people he cherished.
Accompanied by only one security guard, the mayor spent over three hours at that public event, surrounded by hundreds young people, with whom he discussed and recognized their unity and relief efforts after Hurricane Alex.
During these hours he laughed, ran, joked, shared ice cream, and sang. At one point, he walked to the stage and made his request: Can you play Imagine, by John Lennon? he asked, to which the guitarist readily agreed.
"Thank you, my friends from Santiago. Are you having a good time?" he asked while taking the microphone.
"What is most important, is the message that each one of us must carry with us, in our home, in our community, especially in these moments, in which unfortunately, we have lived and are living very painful and difficult situations."
At 11:20 p.m., the mayor left the town square, less than an hour later he was abducted from his home by a group of armed men. Fifty six hours later, his lifeless, broken and battered body was found dumped along the road less than 5 kilometers from where he was abducted.
Using the words of his young widow, "Edelmiro's death shall not be in vain." He was a loyal and honest man who held true to his ways, refusing to bow before the criminal gangs which had forced their way into his beloved pueblo magico.
The was no reward for Edelmiro, quite the contrary, he paid a heavy price to avoid betraying the people who had entrusted themselves to his lead. It has been said by others as well as by his wife: Edelmiro knew the best part of Santiago was it's people. He was sure of it, and carried them in his heart until it beat it's last beat. He was one with them, and they with him.
QEPD Edelmiro Cavazos Leal
"I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life. -Gandhi"
Sources: Grupo Reforma, Milenio