One reason why visiting Mexico may be a not-good idea

August 12, 2011

That little problem of being caught in the middle:

A Valley mother says night terrors and fear are all she has left after armed men stole her sense of security. The woman says she’s trying to stay strong for her seven children.

She ran the gates, breaking them, at the Donna International Bridge to get away. The hardest part for the mother is that her 8-year-old daughter watched as a man pointed a rifle at her. She promised the girl they weren’t going to die.

“My life changed and I want to be the same person that I was, you know?” the woman says.

Apparently Mom and daughter had stumbled across a gang robbing the bridge crew. Wisely, the mother decided not to wait around to see if there was a “no witnesses” policy in force; she jumped the median and crashed her van through the gates on the US side of the bridge. My assumption is that surprising the Mexican gunmen like this probably is what saved her and her child’s life.

Though I have to ask: For what reason, barring an emergency, would anyone cross the border into Mexico these days, when violence is rampant and government authority barely exists in the border region? And why on Earth take your child?

(Guessing: She has relatives on the other side and thought it would be safe.)

Take a look at this map: the bridge is just east of McAllen, site of the Border Patrol station that was the subject of an excellent book, Patrolling Chaos. On the other side is the, to put it nicely, “troubled” city of Reynosa, a primary battleground between the Zeta and Gulf cartels, and occasionally the Mexican military. There have been grenade attacks; a nearby town was abandoned because of cartel violence.

Pardon me, ma’am, but while I admire your bravery and while I sympathize with your fear, your common sense leaves a little to be desired.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why are Mexican troops conducting searches on our side of the border?

February 17, 2011

Via KRGV TV, Texas:

What you see is the international boundary that separates the United States from Mexico and what authorities on this side of the border seem to think is a truck packed with armed men crossing into the United States. The video clearly shows a large military-transport vehicle drive north on the Anzalduas bridge over the international boundary.

We counted at least a dozen armed men in the back of the truck. The vehicle travels down the bridge toward the U.S. Customs checkpoint. Its driver makes a U-turn just before reaching the lines of cars there. It then starts back south toward Mexico. The men pull over and search a vehicle for a few minutes then resume their trek south. The presumed soldiers then cross back over the boundary toward Mexico.

The video is very interesting.

If they had come near the checkpoint and turned around to head straight back home, I’d have said this was an honest mistake — no harm, no foul. But they stopped a vehicle and searched it on our side of the border, when they had to have known they were on the wrong side. That tells me they knew exactly what they were doing.

This isn’t the first time Mexican troops have crossed the border, of course. It’s happened in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. In the last case, they appeared to be trying to collect on a bounty offered by a cartel boss for the capture of a Border Patrol  agent.

The question is whether this incident on the Anzalduas bridge was an authorized crossing or not — or even, as the New Mexico case suggests, a rogue operation not ordered by Mexican authorities.  There’s no way of knowing from the video, and the Mexican denial that anything occurred could mean either that they were covering their own actions, or were caught by surprise, too. That much, at least, is a Rumsfeldian “known unknown.”

What we do know, however, is that armed forces of another nation cross into our territory with some regularity. The American public has a right to know whether this is with US permission and why such permission has been granted. Is it some sort of a cooperation agreement?

This would controversial enough, even if there is  some sort of joint program. But, if there is none, if foreign troops are crossing onto our soil without our permission, well, that is an act of war, regardless of how many are involved. And who were those people in the vehicle stopped by Mexican forces? Were they Mexican citizens? Were they Americans? Are Americans being stopped and questioned by a foreign military in our territory? The problems apparently dates back before the Obama administration (Who knows how far?), but they’re the ones responsible now.  The Texas congressional delegation, especially in the House, might want to start asking some very pointed questions about why these incursions are happening and why the Mexican government hasn’t been told “ya basta!”

hat tip: The Tatler

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)