Saturday, June 22, 2024

Oaxaca acid attack victim plays her saxophone for TV audience

Six months after being attacked with acid, Oaxaca saxophonist María Elena Ríos Ortiz played her instrument for a national TV audience on Tuesday morning.

Ríos suffered severe burns to her face, chest and legs when a man posing as a customer at the travel agency where she worked doused her with sulfuric acid on September 9 of last year.

Playing with her back to the camera, Ríos was accompanied by singer Ximena Sariñana on the popular Oaxacan folk song La Llorona (The Crying Woman) on the Televisa morning news show.

Earlier in the show, host Paola Rojas interviewed Ríos, who spoke of the hardship the attack has brought on her and her family and her frustration that authorities have yet to bring the author of the attack to justice.

“I don’t understand why they haven’t done it. Yesterday it was six months … since they did this to me and changed my life — not just mine, but my whole family’s,” she said.

Ortiz before she was attacked with sulfuric acid.
Ortiz before she was attacked with sulfuric acid.

She said that there is sufficient evidence to implicate former state deputy Juan Antonio Vera Carrizal as the man behind the attack, but he has yet to be brought to justice.

Despite a 1-million-peso (US $53,000) reward offered by the Oaxaca Attorney General’s Office, Vera is still at large, his whereabouts ostensibly unknown.

Ríos said that the healing process has been long and difficult, and that it is still not over. The scarring of the wounds is painful, sometimes an itch, sometimes a stabbing pain. At times it feels as though her skin is contracting, which makes her want to stretch her face and neck to counteract it.

One of the most difficult results of the attack has been its effect on her parents, who are both over 60 years old. Ríos, 23, feels as if she has “become a baby again” and regrets that her parents have had to take care of her, when she feels she should be doing that for them.

Her mother also received burns on her arms, as she instinctually ran to her daughter and embraced her in the moment of the attack, though she is not listed as an official victim in the investigation. Ríos lamented how the two have been linked by the tragic event.

“Unfortunately, we’re connected by this painful situation. I would rather we be connected in a way that brought us happiness, not pain,” she said.

Saxofonista atacada con ácido, toca con Ximena Sariñana - Al Aire

However, little by little she improved in physical therapy, recovered mobility and is now able to do what she loves most: play the saxophone.

“I can move now. Thank God I can play, which is what killed me most to think about [not being able to do],” she said.

Authorities have apprehended two men who confessed to having received money from Vera to carry out the attack. Vera’s accounts have also been frozen by the federal government’s Financial Intelligence Unit in an attempt to locate him.

Source: Infobae (sp), Noticieros Televisa (sp)

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