Skip to comments.Mexican Feds flood Reynosa
Posted on 01/26/2005 3:16:12 PM PST by SwinneySwitch
REYNOSA Businesses were open, people crowded the main plaza, and life went on as usual for Reynosa residents Monday amid the elusive presence of hundreds of extra federal police officers.
About 600 officers of the Policía Federal Preventiva (Mexican Federal Police) arrived in Reynosa on Sunday to begin a trilateral crackdown on organized crime and drug trafficking along the border.
New Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernández Flores, secretary of public security Ramón Martín Huerta and Reynosa Mayor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca are working with federal, state and local authorities to "combat and confront face to face in (Reynosa), like all of (Mexico), the organized delinquencies that have altered the peace of our citizens," according to a PFP news release.
Martín said federal officers would remain in Reynosa until local authorities consider the city safe for its residents.
The arrival of federal agents is not helping the citys image, which is already blemished in part by U.S. Consulate travel advisories and several kidnappings and murders in past weeks.
The U.S. Consulate in Matamoros on Friday issued a second warning to American travelers in Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and the town of Soto la Marina, which is east of Ciudad Victoria, advising extra alertness and to not carry excessive cash or credit cards, or wear expensive items.
The consulate warning indicates that although recent violence is drug-related and not aimed at American tourists, it is important for Americans to travel with caution. U.S. citizens should avoid involvement with the drug trade and its leaders, according to the warning.
Cabeza de Vaca has stood by his statement that his city is safe and the crime in Reynosa including the execution of a police consultant, a Pharr resident and a Reynosa police officer is linked to the worldwide problem of drug trafficking.
Cabeza de Vaca was unavailable for comment Monday.
The U.S. Consulates first travel warning for Reynosa, issued in September 2004, came after increased reports of police officers forcing foreigners to withdraw money from ATMs. The Consulate Web site states the second warning replaces the first one.
Last week in Matamoros, six prison employees were kidnapped and killed after federal authorities transferred drug boss Miguel Angel Caro Quintero and bank bomber Antonio Cerezo Contreras to a local prison, according to The Brownsville Herald. Federal authorities recently transferred five high-profile Mexican drug leaders to various prisons throughout the country in attempt to break alliances within jails.
The recent crimes and warnings have caused fewer people to eat dinner at the upscale La Mansión Del Prado restaurant, located about five blocks from the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.
"Theres a lot less people," said Lic. Jorge Valdes Rios, manager at La Mansión. "Its because of all the problems with the police, the kidnappings and theres a lot (of problems)."
Usually a popular eatery for American and Mexican business folks, Valdes said many former U.S. clients now return home after work because they are scared. Valdes said the presence of federal police should not deter visitors from crossing the border to dine.
"Foreigners feel unsafe here and its different from Monterrey, where its a vacation (destination)," he said. "Reynosa is not a tourist city; its a city of work, not vacation."
So far, occupancy rates and room sales have not decreased at Reynosas Holiday Inn, located next to La Mansión, because of security concerns, said public relations director Lic. Judith San Martín.
"January is always a slow month," San Martín said.
Despite the violence, business from U.S. citizens has been steady at Farmácia Reynosa, located across from the international bridge, said pharmacy employee Jaime Couarrubias Soto.
"The federal police came to fight against drug trafficking and violence," said Couarrubias, who added that federal police along the border is nothing new.
"I could go to McAllen and the same thing could happen," he said.
He said Saturdays Winter Texan festival, which Reynosas administration sponsored, greatly helped business with U.S. visitors.
Camilo Martínez Cortez, president of the Reynosa Chamber of Commerce, said the city is still safe for tourists, and business continues as usual. He said as long as visitors from the United States or Mexico abide by Reynosas laws, there should not be problems with federal or local police officers.
"(The federal police) are going to combat the organized crime," Martínez said. "We are not accustomed to seeing this, but we believe its going to be good."
Victoria Hirschberg covers business, economics and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4466.
The State Dept. has issued a warning to US citizens about traveling to that area.
Let's go to Nuevo Larado this weekend and get twisted on cheap cactus juice and chase the local lovelies, sounds like we'll have the whole place to ourselves.
What could go wrong?>
Unless these rogue drug lords pay Presidente Fox his cut like all the others, there'll be more federales than cucarochas. These 600 federales are going to have to get their mordidas from the local population, as well.
Does the US Consulate warning apply to Nuevo Progresso, across from Brownsville?