Friday, July 29, 2005

Nuevo Laredo consulate closed

Bloomberg reports tonight that US Ambassador Tony Garza has closed the US Consulate in Nuevo Laredo to "assess the security situation for our employees, American travelers to the region, and visitors to the consulate." This move follows yet another gun battle in the streets of this border city between rival drug gangs. This time, the gangs attacked two houses in Nuevo Laredo using sophisticated weaponry, including assault rifles, grenades and a rocket launcher.

To update you a bit on the situation in Nuevo Laredo, it sits just across the border from Laredo, Texas which is the busiest truck crossing of any US port of entry. There have been over 70 murders so far this year in the town of 375,000. Mexican president Vicente Fox had to send federal troops to try to take back control of the streets. They were fired upon by the city police. The position of city police chief was vacant for several months because no one wanted the job. When the position was finally accepted by an officer last month, he was gunned down in a hail of bullets before the day was out.

The US Department of State has issued several advisories, still in effect, warning US citizens to avoid the border area. The Mexican government has objected strongly to these advisories, insisting that the border region was safe. One wonders what they consider unsafe.

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