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(updated, 15 April 2012)
Uppermost in the minds of all reasonable people is the issue of basic security. First of all, local, domestic, common criminal security problems remain all but nil. No change. Everything dull and boring. Jose got drunk down at the deposito de cerveza and cussed everybody out. Maria bonked Juan over the head with a skillet for flirting with Juanita at the wake for Tio Fidencio. Rosendo stole a case of Corona empties from his brother and took them down to redeem and buy some beer. Things like that , once every two or three months. Our section of the Municipio (County) of Hidalgo, Tamaulipas is almost entirely rural, but it is heavily populated. In our section (delegacion) the census tracts total up to about 49,000 folks in a 500 square mile area.
We reiterate the following:
A combination of vigourous military response and presence, a forensic approach that is a quantum improvement, and a judicial/penal process that is more open and forceful are all coming into focus in such a way that it could signal a change in jurisprudence of historical dimension. Recent episodes of tranquility have given the impression that the "War of the Cartels" is either over or won. Neither is the case. BUT, the Cartels have been severely debilitated by their own in-fighting, and more especially by what has proven to be an exceptionally capable Army and Naval Infantry. Much of the activity now being reported is being committed by dispersed and disorganised elements of Cartels that have been badly battered.
During the recent "Easter shopping season" as it is referred to in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a relatively strong peso and the much improved perceived security situation along the highways and byways, filled the bridges, then the parking lots of every shopping center....(several score) from Mission - McAllen, to Brownsville. Bridge wait lines approached 4 hours, well beyond any previous record. Sales records, sometimes surpassing even the Christmas period, were set in many retail outlets. It was as we had pointed out in one of our late March, 2012 blog entries, that the princesses from San Pedro de Garza Garcia would be flooding over by unprecedented numbers. My own return on Easter Sunday was dull, boring, and uneventful as usual. I had to return on an emergency because my wife had undergone an emergency appendectomy early on Sunday morning. Luckily, the bridge traffick was down, and mainly southbound by that time anyway, while El Gringo Viejo was northbound, and hoping for the best.
As an aside, the next day, travelling back to the hospital, two large, white, new Ford pick-ups roared around traffic under the overpass at Mission, Texas's main street intersection with the Expressway US83, running every available red light, in very heavy traffic, turning left off the main street and onto the west bound access lanes for the expressway. Each pick-up had one co-pilot who was shooting what appeared to be 9mm semi-automatics at each other. It's the first time I have witnessed such a thing, and it had to happen in Texas. In any regard,
Much remains to be done, but it can be said at this point that much has been accomplished and much is being accomplished even as we write these words.
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