A U.S. consulate was shut down after sustaining gunfire and grenade explosions amid open street warfare on Monday.
No, this was not 5,000 miles away in Ukraine. The U.S. consulate in question is in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, mere blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The consulate and several Mexican military facilities were hit with gunfire and chaos erupted around the city following the arrest of a suspected cartel leader.
The aftermath of the fighting looks every bit as intense as one might expect of an active war zone – though this occurred just a stone’s throw away from U.S. soil.
Mexican journalist Pascal Beltran del Rio captured footage of burning wrecks and devastation – Watch:
Me comparten un video del panorama en Nuevo Laredo esta madrugada pic.twitter.com/IEjySlRqvg
— Pascal BeltrandelRio (@beltrandelrio) March 14, 2022
Night Of Chaos
Nuevo Laredo, the city that endured a night of chaos at the hands of drug cartel fighting, sits directly opposite of Laredo, Texas.
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Here is an image of the area, with the U.S. Consulate near the middle of the image, and the blue line snaking through the middle is Rio Grande river, which serves as the border:
In addition to the gunfire sustained by the consulate and Mexican military buildings, suspected cartel members blocked roads with spike strips and set several semi trucks on fire. Mexican officials reported at least one fatality.
The night of violence followed the arrest of suspected cartel leader Juan Gerardo Trevino, otherwise known as “El Huevo,” on drug trafficking, money laundering, and extortion charges.
Following the temporary closure of the consulate, employees and American citizens were urged to stay indoors or avoid the area altogether.
“We are aware of an emergency situation near the U.S. Consulate General Nuevo Laredo. U.S. citizens should avoid the area or seek secure shelter.” pic.twitter.com/nfQe4rLGoh
— USCG Nvo Laredo (@USAConNVL) March 14, 2022
Which Borders Have Priority?
America is in a curious position right now. Recall that not so long ago, when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, they refused to pony up even $1 billion for Donald Trump’s border wall.
But now, the most pressing border issue is Ukraine’s – thousands of miles from our shores.
Reasonable people can disagree on the relative merits of U.S. involvement in Ukraine. But shouldn’t our government at least pay some attention to our own border?
Last week, the Congress passed yet another $1.5 trillion spending bill that includes, wait for it, $13.6 billion for Ukraine.
The vote for billions for Ukraine passed by a wide bipartisan margin of 361-69.
In Mexico there is another war, this is Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas pic.twitter.com/ZTEZmqMlpL
— Edgar A Sánchez R. (@century92) March 15, 2022
The War Raging Closer To Home
While the world’s attention is focused on Ukraine, perhaps Americans need to be reminded of what exactly continues to go on in our own back yard. While the Russians commit their own atrocities, the drug cartels appear to be trying to keep up.
Back in November, Mexican authorities discovered nine half-naked and tortured bodies hanging from a bridge. The victims were all male and appeared to be victims of drug cartels.
And while this is just one incident, Mexican security officials say that this heinous image of bodies hanging from bridges has become so commonplace, citizens have almost become accustomed to the sight.
Anyone viewing sights and sounds of the drug war raging in Mexico, and not knowing where those images came from, could no doubt reasonably assume they were coming from Ukraine. The world is watching the horrors on the Russian-Ukraine border.
Americans should have at least one eye on the horrors on the U.S.-Mexican border.