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REYNOSA, Tamaulipas – A local writer and educator has invited Congressman Vicente Gonzalez to cross into Mexico with him to see that a five kilometer stretch of road from the Anzalduas Bridge to the Monterrey-Reynosa interstate is safe.

Bill Rovira, a former reporter for the Rio Grande Guardian, took issue with recent comments made by the congressman. Gonzalez, who represents McAllen in Congress, said his vote in favor of the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is dependent on Mexico making the Monterrey-to-McAllen Federal Highway 40 route safe.

Bill Rovira
Bill Rovira

Gonzalez said: “The federal government has told me they are securing that highway but once you get off that highway there is about a five kilometer trek from the end of that toll road to the nearest bridge, which would be the Anzalduas Bridge. I am hoping that the Mexican government, both at the federal and state level, do more in securing this route.”

Rovira divides his time between McAllen and Reynosa and has taught English in schools in Reynosa. He responded on Facebook:

“Personally I have been driving that same route for some nine years without consequence. I took it yesterday to eat Thanksgiving dinner in McAllen and lately cross it two to three times a week. There are federal assets at the bridge in the form of army. That five kilometer stretch is also closed to surface traffic. I invite the Congressman to ride with me and my daughter anytime. I think before he does something drastic like voting against an agreement that is the economic life-blood of his district, the State of Texas and a huge portion of the U.S. economy he should at least come over here and see things for himself.”

Gonzalez spoke out following the massacre of a U.S. mormon family in Chihuahua, Mexico. Like President Trump, Gonzalez said the U.S. could provide military aid to Mexico to fight the drug cartels. Gonzalez first penned an op-ed on the subject and followed this up with an interview with Ron Whitlock of Ron Whitlock Reports. Gonzalez told Whitlock:

“I believe Mexico should accept our help in securing the country. If your neighbors home is burning you don’t care who puts out the fire. If your house is burning and your neighbor puts it out, you should not have a problem with that.”

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez

Gonzalez acknowledge that because of Mexico’s history with the United States – it lost about a third of its land to its northern neighbor – the issue of sovereignty is important among intellectuals in Mexico City.

“There is a big push back in accepting American law enforcement or military help in securing the country. I think everyone needs to get over that,” Gonzalez told Whitlock.

“We should have a plan and an exit strategy to go in there and do that. We did it in Colombia and we could do it for our neighbors to the south.”

Not so fast, responded Rovira.

“The track record is not very good. Why should Mexico expect any different outcome than in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria? Why not use those same assets in the USA to eliminate the flow of dirty money and arms into Mexico,” Rovira said.

“And why not spend some money on prevention? Addiction and abuse in the homeland is what drives the supply. Congressman, straighten out your own country. You yourself have admitted your fear of crossing the river and coming into Mexico and yet you propose putting others in harms way.”

Rovira later told the Rio Grande Guardian editor Steve Taylor: “I am serious about wanting to take Congressman Gonzalez across Anzalduas Bridge, like you and I do all the time. Or like other Americans I know do every day. That five kilometers is not the issue with the people coming from Monterrey. It’s the highway itself between Monterrey and Reynosa. He could learn so much by just coming over here under cover.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Anzalduas International Bridge. (Photo courtesy: City of McAllen)

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