Tag Archives: Monterrey

The tarnished crown jewel of Mexico

Good article on what went wrong in Monterrey

When American baseball executives were looking for a place to move the struggling Montreal Expos franchise five years ago, Mexican investors brought them here, to this booming metropolis two hours south of the Texas border.

The case for Monterrey was a strong one then. Business journals ranked the city as Latin America’s safest, and hundreds of U.S. companies were setting up operations. Nothing would cement Monterrey’s reputation as a world-class city like a Major League Baseball team.

"It would have been a source of pride for all of Mexico," said Roberto Magdaleno, general manager of the local club, the Sultans, as he looked out over his aging ballpark.

Instead, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals. And the Zetas drug cartel moved to Monterrey and began dumping bodies.

Of course the government says it’s all under control

Calderon said that he will send four additional army battalions to Monterrey and the border region, which Mexican newspapers have taken to calling the "northern front."

Top state officials say they have a comprehensive plan to boost social spending, reform the judicial system and purge the police of corrupt officers. Salaries for starting officers will nearly double, from roughly $600 a month to $1,100, Lt. Governor Javier Trevino said.

"We are facing problems created by many years of social neglect," Trevino said. "But it is no longer possible to live on little islands of security."

In San Pedro Garza Garcia, the Monterrey suburb that is Mexico’s richest enclave, Mayor Mauricio Fernandez has tried to do just that, stoking his reputation as a "rudo," one of the tough guys in the pantheon of Mexican wrestling.

"The more prepared you are for war, the less likely you are to be attacked," said Fernandez, a scion of Monterrey wealth whose family made its fortune in paints and plastics. "If you pick a fight with me, you are going to lose."

Fernandez has installed 2,000 security cameras, quadrupled the police force, established neighborhood watches with 1,000 residents and built his own intelligence service in a $65 million bid to "armor plate" the district. "I pay for information, just like the FBI or Scotland Yard," he said.