Hundreds of Mexicans Seek Shelter Near Border
Eleven blocks from the Texas border, hundreds of destitute Mexicans are gathered in a shelter, escaping what they fear is certain death.
Within walking distance of the U.S. port of entry at Roma — a hilly town of 12,000 speckled with church steeples, fast food signs and discount stores that is nestled between Laredo and McAllen — a Lions Club community center in Ciudad Miguel Alemán is the temporary home to citizens fleeing nearby Ciudad Mier, which was reportedly overtaken by the Zetas drug cartel early this month. The epicenter of the latest outburst of violence is just a 10-minute drive from the Rio Grande.
Across the border in Roma, the news wasn’t anything new to a former Mier resident who fled the city once and for all in February. The woman — another who asked not to be named out of concern for her safety — said the small town has been inundated with violent attacks since she left. It presumably started when the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, former allies in their attempt to oust rival drug cartels from the plazas that extend from northern Mexico to South Texas and beyond, began waging war against each other.
“It’s been only since this week that people started paying attention [to Ciudad Mier],” she said. As patrons began filing into her sister’s restaurant for Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Mexico’s Antonio Margarito, her nieces produced cell-phone pictures of burned-down buildings and charred cars from earlier this year. Family members huddled near the restaurant’s entrance traded rumors of daytime murders and black SUVs with armed gunmen rolling through the town. A niece, who formerly worked at Ciudad Mier’s municipal offices, said the town had been without a police force since February.
In a statement released Saturday, the Tamaulipas governor said federal reinforcements will arrive shortly to the war-torn city in hopes that “residents living in other towns can return home with a greater sense of peace of mind.”
photo by: Adriana Gómez Licón
There have been no police in Mier since February, and the governor of Tamaulipas says “reinforcements will arrive shortly”. Mexico does not control all of its territory. I believe that makes it a failed state.