Saturday, July 30, 2005

Border Crossings

Crossing the Texas/Mexico border at Nuevo Laredo has, until recently, just been an aggravation. When you are returning to the USA, the line at the bridge might be long and slow moving or you might get through the border agent to the Texas side in five or 10 minutes.

When you are going into Mexico, you need to stop for visas and car permits unless you have an FM-3. It could take from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on the time and the day that you cross. The biggest danger we have faced are bottomless potholes, getting cut off by a truck and getting stopped for speeding whether we are speeding or not. That has changed. This month in Texas Monthly was an article about the drug wars going on in Nuevo Laredo and how some citizens from the USA have been caught in them when they are across the border. Unfortunately this link to Texas Monthly only gives you a teaser about the article but it tells several stories about people who have been across the border in bars in the early morning hours and have had very serious problems and about two women from Laredo who have not been found since they disappeared earlier this year.

The situation in Nuevo Laredo has continued to escalate even though the Mexican Federal Government has tried to intervene. But it has not seemed to be able to clean up the local police force or stop the drug wars. The US Government has issued travel warnings but after the latest battle with assault weapons and hand grenades between rival drug organizations on the streets of Nuevo Laredo, the US Ambassador in Mexico City is closing the Nuevo Laredo consulate for at least a week.

Some people are suggesting that instead of going through Nuevo Laredo, you should use the Columbia Bridge that is about 25 miles to the West of Nuevo Laredo. We have used that bridge a time or two but you leave the highway outside of Nuevo Laredo and go on a two lane road through the countryside. You know how sometimes you just have an uneasy feeling about where you are. I've felt that way on that road. It is like in the middle of nowhere with some big warehouse/truck terminals scattered along the road. They seem to be almost abandoned but it has been my feeling that they could be places for moving illegal immigrants or drugs. So I'm not so sure that I would feel any safer crossing at the Columbia bridge.

Our world is a very strange and dangerous place these days. You can decided to stay in the USA but since 911 or the recent bombings in London are we truly safe there.

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