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Trouble in Mexican Border Town of Nuevo Laredo

For many, the short trip across the Texas border is the most of Mexico they’ll see. So far, this is true of me as well.
Back in 1987, my mom, dad, uncle Harvey and aunt Geraldine took a day trip from San Antonio to the town of Nuevo Laredo. When we crossed the bridge over the Rio Grande it became obvious that we weren’t in Kansas, or rather Texas, any more. The roads were suddenly ruddy and the houses unimpressive. The area was very depressed. This was the first time I’d ever seen people at the street corner waiting to wash car windows when the vehicle stopped. Ours must have been washed a half dozen times that day, and I can’t say that it was any cleaner when we left the town than when we arrived.
The city square was not really remarkable. There was a Church’s chicken there, which I thought odd at the time. I guess I more expected a Taco Bell than a Church’s, but that was just my young naiveity. There were numerous mothers panhandling with their children. And a local police deputy all too willing to be ‘tipped’ to keep an eye on our car for us.
Drugs have evidently ravaged the town. There have been 45 people murdered already this year in what authorities characterize as a turf war between drug cartels. The federal (Mexican) government has deployed troops to the area and suspended the local police force – they are believed to be paid under the table by the drug lords. Based on our experiences, I guess I’d believe it.
!Que Lastima! I was looking forward to a road trip out to Texas with my wife, complete with a trip across to Nuevo Laredo. Looks like we’ll have to go on to El Paso and take our chances in Ciudad Juarez.

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