Friday, November 26, 2010

More Troops Have Arrived

Written by E. Eduardo Castillo , AP, " Mexico will send more troops and federal police to try to control drug violence that has spiraled into warfare in parts of the northeast along the U.S. border, the government said Wednesday. The goal of "Coordinated Operation Northeast" is to reinforce government authority in the two states most heavily affected by a surge in violence following a split between the Gulf and Zetas drug gangs, federal police spokesman Alejandro Poire said."

Uh, yeah.  They are here and all over the place. I am still working in Reynosa although I am no longer in my own apartment.  I left school today with another teacher and the road leading from the school was blocked on both sides of Hidalgo Blvd by men in camouflage. They weren't driving military type cars. They were in black SUV's. I almost said soldiers but, let me tell you, not all dudes dressed like soldiers are really military personnel.  We went to my teacher friend's home and he informed me that if the "transitos" aka traffic cops were not doing a checkpoint in his neighborhood, then the guys blocking the road were really soldiers.  He was right... no checkpoint.  Apparently these transito checkpointers are really the CDG (Cartel Del Golfo) guarding the drug lords' homes in the neighborhood. And when there is "activity" in the neighborhood, the CDG transito checkpoint guards hightail it to who-knows-where. 

Like the proverbial bad penny, they will turn up again.   

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I've Had Enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I need to put a few more exclamation points on my title.

Let's recap the past year's events.

1. Moved to Reynosa in August 2009 with a few pieces of furniture brought over in a few trips by my van.

2. Heard first balacera (gun battle) in November 2009.  It was far enough away that it wasn't an immediate danger, but it was my first one so it freaked me out.

3. The war between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel heated up in February 2010.  For those who don't know the history of these groups, the Cartel is the one of the many gangs in Mexico that is responsible for getting drugs to the United States also known as the Land Where People Pay Big BUCKS to Get Their Fix. The Cartel used to be partnered with the gang called the Zetas. The Zetas are trained in military operations and are the enforcers.  Then these two gangs that were in cahoots decided to declare war on each other. Add the Mexican Army to the mix and you've got a 3-way shootout. Some days I didn't have more than 3-4 students  come to class because there was a threat that there would be violence at schools.  Why the schools?  Because where do the gangsters send their children to school?   Private schools, of course! Other times the school would be disrupted because a gun battle would occur and parents panicked running to the schools to get their children. Of course, the teachers had to stay.  We are expendable, apparently.

3. A fellow teacher (Mexican nationalilty) was kidnapped on the way home from his 2nd job teaching English at a business.  He was forced to drive his car. At some point he decided if he was going to die, he was going to die trying to escape so he ran. He escaped but lost his car, cell phone and computer. His car and belongings are never seen again. He escaped with his life.

4. On a beautiful day in March 2010, I was eating dinner and watching TV when I hear "POW, POW" and automatic gunfire and grenades. I get on the computer to check Twitter, our only news source.  This gun battle is about 6 blocks away near S-Mart.  It is dangerous to be a journalist in Mexico and telling the truth is hazardous to the health.  In this same month, 4 journalists are kidnapped in Reynosa.  One was killed.

5. In the beginning of April 2010 , my sons came to visit me. We were getting ready to head to Mexico City when another gun battle erupted very near my home.  My grown boys' eyes become as big a saucers.  "Mom," said the youngest son, "you weren't joking about the shootings???"  Pshaw.... like I'd make this stuff up for my sons' amusement.

6. In September 2010, although gun battles rage around the city over the next few months, I don't hear much. We moved to another home in the Mil Cumbres area, I was informed by Sergio that he had a gun pointed to his head and was told by the commandante to get out of the house.  I had trouble believing it until I talk to the landlord. Apparently several other neighbors had received the same threat. I still don't get what the desired result was supposed to be????

7.. In late September, at 2:38 A.M. a gun battles raged behind our house. I could hear the bullets whizzing and grenades exploding. We cower between the bed and inside wall until we feel safe.

8. So we moved to a house that is out in the country, on a dirt-rutted road, full of bugs and broken windows. There were no working sinks. I had to turn on the shower to brush my teeth. I HATED this place. And then there was another gun battle just down the road. Yeah, this place was soooooooooo much safer.

9. Sergio and Angeles go back to Mexico City.  I refused to stay in the horrible house. Last Saturday I am moving my furniture when a roadblock was created right before my eyes. Roadblocks are created by the bad guys by moving semi-trucks that they commandeered and place them sideways across the highways. Gun battles generally follow.

I've had ENOUGH!!!!

I've moved all stuff to Edinburg and I am doing a daily 3 hour commute to my job.  I love the school where I am teaching. The staff has been great. I really love my students. They are the best. What am I to do?

One of my fellow teachers has offered me a room in his house.  I can stay there Monday - Thursday night and head to Texas every weekend.  I'll give it a try for a while. I would like to finish the school year, if possible. If not, I have to let it all go.

I hate Reynos-HELL