I wasn’t quite sure what I’d run into when I recently took off from Joshua in a rental car with my former wife, Chepa, and her two young daughters on our way to get some dental work done in Mexico. We were headed to Nuevo Progreso, a small border town famous for its dental and medical work and not known as a particular hot bed of drug war violence, like the nearby cities on the border, Matamoros and Reynosa. Still, there were several violent incidents in the past couple of years — small stuff, relatively speaking — that raised a few hairs on the back of my neck. I was particularly concerned about the girls: 10-year-old Sierra and 8-year-old Alexa, because of the threat of kidnapping.
But Chepa, who had visited Nuevo Progreso last year with a couple of her sisters and a friend, was determined to go, calling my fears silly.
“You might have seen problems in Matamoros when you were there last, but you don’t know Nuevo Progreso,” she said. “We just park the car on the U.S. side, walk across the bridge, and there we are. If there are any problems, the border guys will let us know, and we won’t go over.”