Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nuevo Progreso Haven

Nuevo Progreso still regarded as haven from Mexico violence

Valley Morning Star

Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas — Travelers crossing to and from Nuevo Progreso on Friday said they felt safe in this border town despite increasing reports of violence in Mexico in recent months — including five more slayings Friday in nearby Reynosa.

For years, Nuevo Progreso’s vendor-lined streets, trinket shops and restaurants have attracted regular travelers from the U.S. side of the border. Friday, several travelers said they still felt comfortable traveling to Nuevo Progreso, calling it a safe and quiet spot along the often turbulent Mexican border.

Having just crossed over the Progreso International Bridge from Mexico, Kathy and Ed Barnard of Mission said they felt at ease while strolling around Nuevo Progreso on Friday morning.

“I felt perfectly fine here,” Kathy Barnard said, adding that it was her second time visiting the city to dine and shop.

Recent outbreaks of border violence had concerned the Barnards before making the trip, they said.

“I read and listen a lot to what’s happening across the border,” Kathy Barnard said. Border violence, she said, had been in the back of her mind before traveling across into Mexico. “If we didn’t see any cars in the parking lot here, we would have turned around and headed back.”

Cars filled the parking lot on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande as travelers made their way back and forth across the bridge Friday.

Sue Koehoorn, a Winter Texan from Wisconsin, walked back from the bridge with a group of friends, having just returned from her last trip of the year to Nuevo Progreso before heading back home to the Midwest.

For years Koehoorn has frequented Nuevo Progreso for dining, shopping and festivals, she said.

“Sometimes we would come once a week — that often,” she said. Although Koehoorn and her friends used to travel to other border cities such as Reynosa and Matamoros, Nuevo Progreso is now the only border town where she feels safe.

“Here, we try to stay on the main drag and we stay in groups just to be safe,” Koehoorn said, adding that a December shootout in the town had made her feel nervous for some time. “We haven’t heard any reports of violence other than that one,” she said, adding, “We still feel comfortable coming down now.”

Late last year residents and tourists in Nuevo Progreso had a taste of the violence that plagues other Mexican border cities. A shootout between gunmen and the Mexican army broke out on Dec. 5 and spilled into the main streets of the city. The battle sent hundreds of tourists fleeing for cover. There were no U.S. casualties in the shooting, but Mexican officials have refused to release any more details of the incident. Witnesses at the time reported at least two fatalities.

Since then, Nuevo Progreso has remained quiet and tourists seem to feel safe making short trips into the town, despite escalating reports of violence along the Mexican border, including in nearby Reynosa, where five deaths Friday pushed the number of gunmen killed across the region to at least 25 since Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Mexico last month to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation there.

“While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including tens of thousands who cross the land border daily for study, tourism or business and nearly one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico), violence in the country has increased,” according to the bulletin.

“It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks in Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if victimized.”


  1. The bus my husband was riding into Progreso yesterday was hijacked and he was taken by 2 men at gun point. After 2 hrs, and shedding 500 pesos they let him go where he ran to the OXXO for safety. I am here in the United States waiting for him to return, how to I get a police report from the Nuevo Progreso police?


  3. I was in Nuevo progreso on June 26,2011. My brand new car was stolen. I need to get in touch with the police there does anyone know how to do that. Help

  4. I am thinking of going to Progreso soon. The only real violence I have read was in Dec 09. Has there been any since then?

  5. iam interested in the crime now April 2012, for Progresso and the Matamoros are. My husband is in a fed. prison, brecause he has no papers to be here( has a felony) so we are looking to find a safe place where i can live with him and come to the U.S. each day to work. can anyone tell me a little information. such as safety and housing, employment for my husband. thanks


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