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US to Re-Open Consulate in Violence Plagued Mexican Border Town

The United States has announced it is re-opening its consulate in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo. The consulate was closed earlier this week in response to an upsurge of violence blamed on feuding drug cartels.

A statement from the U.S. ambassador to Mexico said the consulate in Nuevo Laredo will re-open for normal operations on Monday, August 8.

The statement blamed a "climate of rampant violence along the border" for the decision to close the facility. The ambassador's statement singled out a July 28th incident involving a home invasion by gangs firing "military grade weaponry."

The statement said the ambassador had no choice but to suspend operations at the consulate, which is just across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas.

So far this year Mexican Authorities concede that more than 100 people have been killed in drug related violence, eighteen police officers have been gunned down and a Police Chief of the City was assassinated.

Lorenzo Meyer, a professor of political history at the College of Mexico, says the closing of the consulate will only further aggravate a tremendously difficult and complex law and order crisis. "The U.S. can close all the Consulates in Mexico, and the situation will not improve -- quite the contrary. It will create the sensation that ungovernability is the dominant political fact in Mexico. And that will not help U.S. Mexican relations, or the quality of everyday life in Mexico," he said.

Director of the Mexican Institute of Political Studies, Pedro Javier Gonzalez, says that the frontier like lawlessness on the border, is already affecting tourism, travel, business, trade and international investment. He stresses there is still time to reverse this situation. But the Mexican government must show resolve and crack down on organized crime, even in the face of this current backlash and crisis. "We are paying the cost for fighting crime, and that's what the Mexican government has to project - that idea. If the Mexican government does not, then the Mexican government is lost," he said.

The temporary closing of the consulate has chilled relations between the two countries, but both sides appear to be trying to put the incident behind them.

The U.S. ambassador's statement said he has asked the Mexican government to take swift action and in his view they have done so.