The Mexican border town of Raynosa is the pride of the Gulf cartel. It’s estimated to be the most tightly controlled of all the border towns under cartel rule. Its system of surveillance rivals any in the U.S. Whoever enters day or night is watched and followed by scouts and sensors. It’s advisable not to do anything that offends.
The disadvantage of this supremacy is that Reynosa is envied by rival cartels who are in the habit of taking what they want. Recently, assorted discontents pulled up in a number of trucks and started firing randomly. Before they had finshed, twenty-three people were dead, most of them innocent bystanders. A grim reckoning but not that unusual in Mexico with one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Violence has become contagious and – to be frank – pleasurable as the cartels kill for control of the immensely profitable drug trade. In the process anybody can perish in or around the line of fire.
Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, governor of the state of Tamaulipas in which Reynosa is located, said this kind of “reprehensible criminal behavior” will not be tolerated. We’ll have to take him at his word since he is currently charged with criminal activities involving the Gulf cartel. In city as in state, the cartels determine justice. Their word is the law.
A manager of a hotel across the border in McAllen, Texas, says she would like to visit her grandmother who lives in Reynosa, but’s a difficult trip. Arrangements must be made and money exchanged with a cartel intermediary who then assures safe passage. She says she doesn’t want to be trapped in a cartel financial web from which there’s no escape.
There are currently other visitors in Reynosa; namely, hundreds of migrants who have been returned to Mexico from the U.S. to await their fate. Most are seeking asylum from the unceasing violence that threatens their lives back home. Many are children, entrusted by their parents to the so-called coyotes to take them to the U.S. Once they’re paid – around ten thusand dollars per migrant – these cartel agents don’t really care what happens to their charges who are at the mercy of the cartels, as their scars and bruises testify.
There’s a tendency to ignore or underestimate the cartels. That’s Mexico for you, can’t happen here, we’re told. But some cartels may have dreams beyond avarice. Could they possibly conquer the U.S. which once conquered Mexico and took half its territory? Are they on their way to that end with the poisonous drugs like fentanyl that are leading to increasing American deaths from overdose? Do the current riots in U.S. inner cities duplicate the ones in Mexico with drug rivalry a chief cause? If so, the cartels could be be prouid of a progeny copying their ways up north. Is Reynosa then a portent?