US reopens Mexico border mission
BBC News | August 9, 2005
By Claire Marshall
The United States has reopened its consulate in Mexico's northern border town of Nuevo Laredo.
It had been shut following a shoot-out between drug gangs involving rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.
Consul Michael Yoder said that more security had been put in place and that the queuing system for visas has been speeded up.
But he warned that the security situation would be kept constantly under review.
Walking out into the bright sunshine to talk to waiting reporters, Mr Yoder declared the Nuevo Laredo consulate, just over the border from Texas, open for business.
He said the faster visa process would avoid what he called "my nightmare" of a violent incident outside the consulate where hundreds of people regularly wait for appointments.
Asked whether he felt nervous living and working in Nuevo Laredo, Mr Yoder said that everyone felt a certain amount of tension.
"The reason for that is because of the randomness of the attacks that take place in very public places with many people around," he said.
"So that's nerve-wracking for everyone." The cartels are fighting for control of the multi-billion dollar drugs trade in Nuevo Laredo.
They are well organised and have access to heavy weaponry.
"We've had something like 109 murders, most of those, all but a few of those connected with the narco-war that's taking place in Nuevo Laredo," said the consul.
"I believe we've had six arrests so far this year. So there really is a feeling up to this point that you can get away with murder in Nuevo Laredo."