It takes 30 minutes to reach Reynosa, Mexico, from McAllen, Texas. But it only takes 30 seconds to realize that it’s a town under siege.
It’s a regular business day but most of the businesses are closed or empty. “For Sale” signs are everywhere. Most buildings—many showing architectural details in vogue during the town’s heyday, just after World War II—stand unpainted, windows broken, some shops burned out. Many look like they were burned recently.
“Open since 1936,’’ reads a big sign on the wall of one of the city’s most famous restaurant of decades ago. The restaurant is closed. Even small taquerias are closed, the dust on their tables and kitchen equipment visible through stained windows.
Even on a bright day, there is a strange density to the place—as though the town is governed by secrets. Most people turn away from the visitor who is asking too many questions. The few who talk warn the visitor that long stretches of highway, outside of town, are “extremely dangerous.” The roads, in any case, are of no use after dark.