According to the McAllen Monitor as reported by Ildefonso Ortiz on 3/11/13, “Fear and panic filled the streets of Reynosa on Sunday night as rival gunmen battled during a three-hour firefight that saw automatic weapons and grenades used.” According to this same reporter, “Surprisingly, Mexican authorities were absent for most of the melee.”
A source for this same story, a “Tamaulipas law enforcement official,” claims that more than three dozen men were killed in the shootout and that it is possible others were killed but the criminals involved retrieved the bodies of their fellow gunmen.
In sharp contrast, the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office, according to this same story, stated that two bystanders were killed Sunday night and one other person injured. It also stated that seven cartel members were arrested along with 22 vehicles involved in the shootout.
The public is left to pick their story: either two bystanders were killed and a third injured during this incident in Reynosa, or the scale of the drug-related violence in this border city resembled the Syrian war.
The absence of full and creditable reporting in the Mexican media is not unusual. For years the narco-trafficantes have been killing any and all Mexican journalists who report honestly about the scope and depth of the violence of the drug cartels and their influence throughout all of Mexican society. The end result is that there are few Mexican journalists who feel secure enough to report on last Sunday night in Reynosa for fear of their own lives and the lives of their family members. More than one Reynosa journalist has relocated to McAllen for reasons of safety.
Absent, too, are our own regional and national journalists who have, for whatever reasons, chosen not to report on whatever happened Sunday night in Reynosa. Nowhere in the New York Times or the Washington Post, for instance, is there any mention of this story. The electronic media have been just as silent.
The end result of the almost complete absence of professional journalists, both Mexican and American, is that whatever happened in Reynosa last Sunday night is, at least to date, lost to human conscience and memory…as if it never happened. What we are left with, aside from the one story by reporter Ildefonso Ortiz, is a random series of eyewitness accounts by bloggers, the reliability of which always is in question.
What really happened last Sunday night in Reynosa? Was it a massacre beyond the imagination or simply the random deaths of two bystanders?
What happened, whatever it was, matters.