Crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico can be very risky


The recent Mexican cartel killing of two US citizens and kidnapping of two others in the border town of Matamoros, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, was a grim reminder that the crossing “al otro lado‘ is a risky business.

As someone who lived and worked in Brownsville in the 1970’s and returns there frequently, I know very well that the frontier today is a very different world than it was back then. This reality is something even I forget sometimes.

For US citizens who are not Hispanic or who do not speak Spanish, crossing the border has not been safe for two decades. Long periods of silence suddenly give way to violence that can claim the lives of those caught in between. Rival cartels fighting for territory long ago killed the once-buoyant tourism industry along the border, though a trickle of Americans continue to cross the border for a good while to access more affordable pharmaceuticals or medical supplies, or on road trips to inland destinations such as San Miguel de Allende.

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