A Democrat Texas Congressman wrote a letter to U.S. Vice President Joe Bidden asking him to focus on the worsening security situation in Mexico which “has ripped apart our way of life on the U.S. Mexico Border.”
The letter was written prior to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s meeting with Obama and other officials during the Mexican president’s visit to the White House.
Breitbart Texas obtained a copy of the letter and Congressman Filemon Vela asked government officials to stop drug cartels and provided a glimpse into the harsh reality of the Mexican border cities While Mexico claims they are safe, in fact they are “the location of extortions, kidnappings and killings.”
While in the past the border cities in Mexico were a tourism hub, the escalating violence from drug cartels has drastically diminished recreational tourism to the area. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, in 2014, the FBI investigated 199 kidnappings of Americans in Mexico with a large number of those being in Tamaulipas, a state torn apart by warring drug cartels.
Below is the letter sent by Vela in its entirety:
The Honorable Joe Biden
Vice President of United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Vice President Biden:
In preparation for your upcoming High-Level Economic Dialogue meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, I urge you to stress the importance of strengthening security in northern Mexico in states such as Tamaulipas and to promote the establishment of a secure economic zone.
While concerted efforts by the Mexican government and military have reduced violence in many areas, the state of Tamaulipas has seen a rapid escalation in violent criminal activity which has impacted residents on both sides of the U.S-Mexico border and weakened our border economy.
Victims of the violence include constituents I represent in Congress. Earlier this year, three siblings from Progreso, Texas, were abducted and murdered while visiting their father in Matamoros, Mexico.
In a travel warning updated on December 24, 2014, the U.S. Department of State warns, “Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Victoria have experienced numerous gun battles and attacks with explosive devices in the past year. Violent conflicts between rival criminal elements and/or the Mexican military can occur in all parts of the region and at all times of the day. The number of reported kidnappings for Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico, and the number of U.S. citizens reported to the consulates in Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo as being kidnapped, abducted, or disappearing involuntarily in 2014 has also increased.”
Border cities like Matamoros and Reynosa, which used to be safe for Americans to visit, are now the location of extortions, kidnappings, and killings. U.S. border communities in the Rio Grande Valley remain some of the safest cities in the nation. However, violence in the state of Tamaulipas has hampered trade between our two nations and has ripped apart our way of life on the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas.
Recently, media reported on President Peña Nieto’s plan for secure economic zones in states in southern Mexico, and I believe a similar plan can be adapted for states in northern Mexico, specifically Mexican states like Tamaulipas that border the U.S. It would seem wise to include discussion of a joint economic plan that would impact communities on both sides of the border during your upcoming visit with President Peña Nieto. Such a plan would help the state of Tamaulipas reduce crime and also provide more economic opportunities for people living in cities on the U.S.-Mexico border.
I urge both administrations to enhance efforts to target drug cartels and discuss the establishment of a secure economic zone that would include communities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Member of Congress