REYNOSA, Tamaulipas – Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca has made a heartfelt plea to Texas media outlets and the business world to speak out about illegal weapons and ammunition entering Mexico.
At a press conference that largely focused on cartel-related violence in Reynosa and which lasted over an hour and a half, García Cabeza de Vaca said the U.S. and Mexican governments should be doing more to stop armaments crossing their international ports of entry.
“During the past ten years, there has been a huge increase in gun sales, especially in all the gun shops on the U.S. southern border, and, of course, in the Rio Grande Valley,” García Cabeza de Vaca said, in response to a reporter’s question about arms going south.
“I would like to see solidarity from those who speak for the maquiladora sector, to see them coming out and backing us. I would like to see all our commercial partners help us take care of this border. I would ask all the reporters from media outlets in Texas to report not only the insecurity problem we have but also the weapons issue. Because, at the end of the day, we wouldn’t have these problems if those guns hadn’t crossed from the U.S. to Reynosa.”
Asked by a reporter if he has brought up the subject of illegal weapons entering Mexico in his conversations with national leaders, García Cabeza de Vaca answered affirmatively.
“I have expressed this topic at the highest levels, during the national governors’ conference (CONAGO), and with the President of the Republic. I did it during a meeting I had, and other governors had, with regards to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Our Foreign Secretary, Luis Videgaray was there. I made the President see the importance of talking about it.”
García Cabeza de Vaca said an important message needs to be sent to the United States about the need for reciprocity.
“We need to send a reminder to our neighbors to the north, that Mexico has been a good neighbor to the United States. We have been good allies, and a good partner. So much so that Mexico is one of their main commercial partners,” García Cabeza de Vaca said.
“We have also been a neighbor who takes care of their back, because the armed forces and the Mexican authorities have impeded the crossing of millions of thousands of pounds of drugs, which have not been able to get into the United States.”
Mexico has also helped the United States in its fight against terrorism, the Tamaulipas governor said.
“This is a fact that might seem smaller but it is not smaller. Everybody knows the United States has always been on guard because of the terrorism, and, fortunately, the United States has never had that problem going through Mexican land. It has never has happened. What does this mean? It means that we have been very good neighbors, we have been attentive to work hand in hand with them. What do we ask? We ask for reciprocity, for them not to send more guns coming from that side to this side because that is what has been causing all the problems.”
García Cabeza de Vaca repeated his central point that more must be done to stop arms and ammunition entering Mexico from the United States.
“We have done what we are supposed to. I asked the members of the CONAGO to talk about this matter, even though it is not a topic inside the NAFTA. It is a topic that can be talked about on the side because Mexican nationals are very worried about this deep problem we have, because of the illegal introduction of guns into our state,” García Cabeza de Vaca said.
“Let me tell you, this is not only the Mexican customs responsibility. It is also a responsibility for the U.S. authorities because it is a federal offense to take out guns from the U.S. and export them illegally to any country in the world. And that is what has been happening during the past ten years.”
Interviewed later, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling expressed his support for García Cabeza de Vaca’s efforts to fight border violence.
“We are very cognizant of the weapons issue and we have asked Customs and Border Protection about stepping up inspections. It is a delicate balance with trade. But it is not just about the confiscation of weapons but also sharing information. We are looking at this and addressing it and hopefully, someone will come down from Washington to ensure we get better cooperation and better scrutiny,” Darling said.
The McAllen mayor acknowledged that violence in Reynosa was impacting the number of shoppers and tourists crossing into his city.
“What is happening in Mexico affects us tremendously. Not just in business but with our friends and family. This needs to be discussed at the governor’s level and in Washington and in Mexico City,” Darling said.
“It is particularly affecting the average citizen in Reynosa. We have a long relationship with Reynosa and what is happening now is not acceptable. It is difficult for the Governor. As he always says, there is more firepower on their (cartel) side than his side. We have to address that. Grenade launcher and 50-caliber machine guns, that is not armed robbery stuff, it is very serious.”
Darling said there needs to be a better exchange of information on illegal weapons going south.
“The cartels have information about you and your family. It is very effective in influencing people. Sometimes, it is not prudent to say what we are doing. We talk to the Texas Department of Public Safety and they talk to the Governor. The DPS administrator is very involved when we meet with Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol and police,” Darling said.
Another good development, Darling said, was having retired U.S. Marine Corps General John F. Kelly in the White House as chief of staff to President Trump.
“We have a great ally in General Kelly. He understands first-hand what has happened in Central America with the violence and the cartels being in control. It is very positive to have someone like that in the White House. Hopefully, this will lead to positive results.”
Oh puleeze. The price of firearms from America is two to five times the world market. This is an old saw that has been repeatedly debunked. If guns are flowing from America, they’re being smuggled from another nation and America is simply the conduit. But even that doesn’t make sense because ships and small craft could more easily transport firearms to Mexico from a hundred places less regulated than the U.S. If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t. Even if the price were competitive, the Texas border is relatively inhospitable. That too doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking fake news again.