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Press Releases 05

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Garza on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo

Mexico City, August 5, 2005 — “I have directed our consulate in Nuevo Laredo to reopen for normal operations on August 8, at 8:00 a.m.”

“A climate of rampant violence along the border, culminating in the July 28 incident involving a home invasion by gangs firing military grade weaponry, gave me no choice but to suspend operations at our consulate in Nuevo Laredo. I did not take this decision lightly. Worried Americans and Mexicans have been telling me about the violent street crime that has affected their lives, and for months I have been reading a steady stream of media stories about unchallenged gang activity and robberies. Their concerns have been amplified by a number of publicized studies, such as a report by the ‘Citizen Council for Public Safety and Penal Justice’ on rising kidnapping rates, and a report on the connection between political corruption and money laundering by the organization ‘Global Media Alert.’ These conditions forced me to take a more aggressive posture in order to protect our Nuevo Laredo employees and members of the public who have legitimate reasons to be at our consulate.”

“One week ago, I asked the government of Mexico to take swift and what I then called decisive action, and in my view, they have done so. In the past few days, I have worked with my Mexican government counterparts, to gauge the state of criminal activity along our border, and obtain security assurances and an agreement on what needs to be done. Discussions with Governance Secretary Carlos Abascal and Mexican Foreign Secretary Ernesto Derbez convinced me that the administration of President Vicente Fox is committed to combating narcotics trafficking, and taking back the border from the kingpins and capos whose destructive influence threatens to undermine the very fabric of Mexican life. I am particularly encouraged by Secretary Abascal’s acknowledgement that the situation in Nuevo Laredo requires a ‘joint approach.’ Secretary Abascal is clearly a serious and thoughtful man who is committed to getting the job done.”

“We know that crime along the border will not disappear overnight. I am heartened by the commitments made to me by the Mexican government. President Fox understands that criminal gangs and narcotraffickers threaten our families, our children, and our way of life. I have repeatedly said that putting an end to violence along the border is a shared responsibility, and in furtherance of that commitment, the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Mexico. And we will be vigilant in our efforts.”

“One thing is clear: much more work needs to be done. I have heard the voices of those who claim that violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is an unfortunate fact of life that we must learn to live with. As the son of the U.S.-Mexico border, I will not accept that notion. I am proud to call the border my home. Looking back, I cannot imagine a better place to have been raised. As the United States Ambassador, the protection of American citizens is my primary duty. I am committed to doing all I can to make sure that the United States-Mexico relationship is as strong, vibrant, and forward-looking as the people of our two great countries.” Tony Garza.

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