Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Few Observations

     There comes a point when a few small observations are required.   Everyone here knows my political orientation, so please do not think of me as un-American.
     I have a bit of passing familiarity with Falcon Reservoir.   It was my pleasure to be there when it was dedicated by President Eisenhower and President Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez back on one incredibly hot (before global warming was caused by Gerge Bush), terribly windy October day in 1953.   My Godfather had been the contractor who built all the housing for the "Dam workers" ....a requirement because Falcon Dam was pretty far removed from anything, and the personnel pretty much had to remain on-site.   The Employees' Village numbered about 30 nice homes, with 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms.    We thought it was pretty neat that someone could rent a really nice home with 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths for 12 dollars a month.
     We fished there after it filled from the effects of Hurricane Donna...which ended the drought of the early 1950's.   During my high-school days we fished there, and in the Rio Grande below the dam several miles to Chapen~o, Salinen~o, and "puntos intermedios".    We would always take advantage of the really excellent, even if a bit plain, restaurants in nearby places in Mexico where a guy could score a huge "Mexican Plate" for 3 pesos including a Coca-cola or a really good Gringo style hamburger and a Coke for 1 peso.    That was a range of 8 American cents to 24 American 1962-1964.
     We frequently travelled over to the old colonial city of Guerrero, originally known as Carrizales in the colonial period, to see the effects of its inundation.   My mother and various people in the Valley were saddened at the loss of the city because it was truly a little picture post-card town....very clean and  picturesque.
      We would camp out on the Rio Grande below Falcon Dam in various places....using the law in Texas which permitted people free access to cross over private property in order to gain access to rivers within the State.   Actually, I spent a good part of my senior year pretty much camped out there.  That did not help my grade point average.....but I was arrogant and knew that I would do well on the SAT.   (Of course, it would have been better to have a high SAT score and a high gpa.)
     It was all very pleasant.   There were few if any problems.   The Mexicans always treated us like human beings, whether we deserved it or not.   The scenery was magnificent...especially for flatlanders from McAllen....for it was from Falcon Dam where a person could frequently see the Sierra de los Picachos....which parallel the Sierra Madre Oriental....sixty miles to the west.   Monterrey itself....kind of like the Capital not just of Nuevo Leon but of Northern Mexico in a only 90 miles from the Dam by straight line.

     In any regard, with reference to the issues of to-day, there are things that are not reported and things that are reported incorrectly.   I am saddened that FOXNews and my local station KURV-710 have been just as misleading and inaccurate as the rest of the media in this matter.  
     One thing that needs to be stated at the beginning of this observation is that the Mexican military has just completed an incredibly successful operation in an hemispheric area 20 miles in radius from a point placed on the center of Falcon Dam.   This operation was conducted in September, and was puncuated by two major engagements; one between Parras, Nuevo Leon and  General Trevin~o, Nuevo Leon and the other in a place just southwest of Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas.   The two points are about 18 miles apart from one another.   In the two encounters 58 cartel members were killed, 20 were taken prisoner, a score of late-model motor-vehicles (SUV's, BMW's, etc.) were decommisioned along with much militaria.  They were, according to various reasonable observers, gradually isolating a peninsula near Old Guerrero, the submerged city, where a body of "mules" had set up something akin to a hobo camp.   These mules were/are guys who used to dedicate themselves to commercial fishing on the lake.
      As these times and opportunities came to them, they began taking loads of illegal drugs and marihuana and  illegal aliens across the lake at night in their "pangas".  A "panga" is a very high-prowed, bulky, very under-powered (25 horsepower), 20 foot,  plasti-foam boat which can carry considerable weight and low to moderate speeds.
      At first it was done for fun and profit and adventure....and then it became a matter of "do it or else" it is with all organized crime.   Various sweeps of lesser and greater intensity and commitment by civilian authority dented but did not eliminate this activity.   But with the steady criss-crossing offensive by the Mexican Army and the Mexican Naval Infantry occurring in the near distance....along with better measures taken by State and Federal police entities....the cartel people have been put at a disadvantage, leaving the "pangeros" (boatmen) to now huddle on a peninsula near Old Guerrero where they hide in an area of mesquite and willow thickets of about 120 acres extension.
      The purported visit by the Colorado couple for the purpose of taking pictures of the old parish church of Guerrero Viejo interrupted this scene, both for the "pangeros" and the military.   Throughout the American side of the Lake there are written announcements urging that people avoid that particular area of a huge lake that, at this moment is about 60 miles long and about 17 miles wide at its widest point...which includes the mouth of the Rio Salado.    The couple had lived and worked in Reynosa, across from McAllen, with an American company associated with the development of the massive natural gas reserves in the northeastern Mexico area,  for the past three years.    They had recently moved to McAllen...because the company had become concerned about the cartel activity....and the couple was going to be moving back to Colorado in any regard.    The pick-up they drove from McAllen to Zapata on the Lake with was still bearing Mexican license plates from the State of Tamaulipas.    In short, they had to have been well aware that Falcon Lake was a safe place to jet ski, fish, and have a good time...... EXCEPT FOR ONE PLACE.    This was not a stupid or ignorant couple, but at best, they did make a significant error in judgement
               NOT EVEN THE OLD GRINGO WOULD HAVE GONE INTO THAT PARTICULAR AREA OF FALCON LAKE IN THESE DAYS, AT THIS TIME.    Any of about 99.5% of Mexico you might find me....but not at that particular point.
     It should be pointed out that, contrary to published and broadcasted reports,  the Mexican Army began searching the area the day after the incident and gradually added capacity...machinery (helicopters, boats, dogs, American satellite information, GPS, etc.).   Searching has continued, even to this date, but there has been no jet ski....
     With more local people on the Mexican side feeling more comfortable because of the presence of a battalion of heavy infantry taking up positions in the town of Nuevo Guerrero (built to replace the old, inundated town) the local citizens are celebrating "liberation".....They are insistent that the Army not leave.    This fact has been recorded on Mexican and American television news programs, stated on camera by locals.     But there has been no jet ski.....and the Texas Rangers have not returned, to date, certain items of interest that they took for analysis on the day of the report of the incident.

Now, I am done.   Thank you as always for your interest and attention.
The Old Gringo