Castro: Mexican investment will come to McAllen because of its culture, demographics

Legendary maquiladora leader interviewed at MXLAN’s International Economic Summit.

MCALLEN, Texas – Attending MXLAN’s International Economic Summit at the McAllen Convention Center, INDEX Reynosa’s Enrique Castro looked around the ballroom and expressed pleasure at what he saw.

“Forty years ago you would not have seen this. It is full of Mexicanos. Back then there were not that many. McAllen was divided by the railroad tracks,” Castro said. 

The maquiladora industry leader said the culture and demographics of the McAllen metro area today can help land huge investment from Mexico.

“It’s a very Hispanic-friendly city,” Castro said of McAllen. 

“I think there are a lot of investors from Mexico that are willing to put their money at the border. Not go north. Not go south. But stay here where they can have this (Mexican friendly) environment. We were talking a few minutes ago with some of the people and gosh there are a lot of Latinos here now. New kids, even those that are returning back. They left the Valley because their were no opportunities. Now they’re coming back with experience. I think it’s going to be very exciting.”

Castro gave an exclusive interview to the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service immediately following the keynote speech at the International Economic Summit. It was given by Duncan Wood of the Wilson Center.

“I think what makes an area interesting is their own people, not just the money. If you don’t have people that you can trust, that you can talk to…,” Castro told the Guardian. “Look at Monterrey. Monterrey is the new Shanghai of Mexico. Why is the border not like Monterrey?”

Castro said he remembers the vision Richard Cortez had when he was mayor of McAllen.

“I remember his plan on making McAllen like a small San Antonio. Remember all that? That’s a really good opportunity. And they have already the projects and the money. I think it will come out very soon, something like that.”

Castro is a Mexican national who has lived and worked on both sides of the border for many years. His business interests now are mostly in Queretaro, Reynosa, and McAllen. He has been president of Index, the maquiladora trade association, at both the national and local level. 

During an earlier panel discussion at the International Economic Summit, involving four local bankers, Castro asked a question during the Q&A. He pointed out that Tamaulipas was not getting much of the near-shoring that is happening now. He said security and infrastructure issues must be resolved. 

However, in his interview with the Guardian, Castro said the Rio Grande Valley and northern Tamaulipas can land some big manufacturing projects. At present, the big winner in the near-shoring race is Nuevo León, a state where Elon Musk is building a new Tesla plant.

“I think there are other companies, big companies, large companies that are willing to come this way. I mean, Tesla is, right now, the new kid on the block. But, gosh, I know several companies that are coming this way that are even bigger and stronger, especially in the high tech (world), in electronics and all that,” Castro said.

Castro said he was not just talking about microchip manufacturing. 

“There is a lot of high tech, which I think Texas should take advantage of. Yesterday we were talking about that at the MEDC. There are a lot of schools here. The medical school. There are a lot of things. I’m really excited that we can grow. But, you know, it’s all about trust.”

MEDC stands for McAllen Economic Development Corporation.

Castro said he is impressed with the start Tamaulipas’ new governor, Américo Villarreal Anaya has made. He said he hopes Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Villarreal will meet soon to both forge closer relationships between Tamaulipas and Texas and invest more in port of entry infrastructure. 

Editor’s Note: The audio below features Enrique Castro’s question to a panel of Rio Grande Valley bankers at the MXLAN International Economic Summit. The replies from the bankers – David Deanda of Lone Star National Bank, Eduardo Caso of Texas Regional Bank, Adrian Villarreal of IBC Bank, and Larry Gonzalez of Plains Capital Bank – is also included. The Q&A is then followed by an exclusive interview Castro gave the Guardian at the event.

We are interested about hearing news in our community! Let us know what's happening!

Get in touch and share a story!


This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top