Reader Jorge sent me this message:
acabo de ir a Nuevo Laredo y me entero que no hay un sólo policía municipal patrullando la cuidad, el ejercito tomó el mando de la seguridad. 200 soldados llegaron ayer a la cuidad y tienen acuartelados a los policías municipales mientras se investigan (se les harán pruebas físicas, de drogas, de “confianza”) La seguridad de la cuidad está completamente al mando del ejercito mexicano.
For my monolingual readers is states something along the lines of, “I just went to Nuevo Laredo and I found out there is not one single municipal (more like county, not city) police officer patrolling the city of Nuevo Laredo. The army has taken control of security. 200 soldiers arrived to the city yesterday and they have all the local police officers in custody (they will be given physical tests, drug tests and a test in ethics [how is beyond me]). The security of the city is completely under the watch of the Mexican army.”
I also received this news release from El Mañana regarding the situation. Some of you may have watched yesterday’s press event that gathered all the presidentes of the municipios of Tamaulipas and security heads in preparation for a new model for law enforcement throughout the state.
What is the problem, you ask? Well, in some ways, you have non-cartel influenced folks coming in from the army to play the role of law enforcement. Unfortunately, they are not the best trained, are usually very young (nothing wrong with youth but experience makes a difference) and there have been many complaints because of abuses committed by soldiers. Of course, some state that it is the cartels who are pressuring people to complain against the federal soldiers.
On the other rotten hand, many suspect that Nuevo Laredo’s police force has been corrupt no matter how much “clean-up” has occurred. Many talk about some police officers being in cahoots with certain cartels. The crimes go beyond asking for a mordida (a bribe) which… come to think of it, I have not been asked for one in a loooong time. Regardless, some people are afraid of the local police. Who knows who to believe.
Bottom line, Nuevo Laredo doesn’t seem to be able to win one way or the other. By the looks of it, though, the state is developing a better trained, better screened state police force around August (I hope I understood that correctly. The new requirements for state police are even online). It’s incredibly sad that the majority of the good and honest people of Nuevo Laredo have to fear not only the cartels but police officers and the military soldiers coming in – hopefully it really is temporary.
I know it is hard for those who don’t live in los dos Laredos to understand but being on the US side still gives me some peace of mind. Yes, I can hear the gunfire and explosions late at night but I don’t fear getting shot or blown to bits. I cringe, not from fear but from sadness for the state of Mexico while it is being terrorized by cartels and for the insatiable demand for drugs in the USA.
Only a small river separates Laredo from the bullets of Nuevo Laredo. I can only hope peace finds its way to our sister city soon and that I can sleep without hearing gunshots in the distance.