MEXICO CITY – Businessmen fleeing the violence in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas have invested about $16 million in Texas in recent months, Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Tamaulipas State, or Fecanaco, vice president for border affairs Julio Almanza Armas said.
The Tamaulipas residents are reconquering Texas, which Mexico lost in 1836, Almanza said.
The erratic security policies in Mexico are prompting an increasing number of businessmen, merchants and professionals in Tamaulipas to flee to the United States, Almanza said.
The Mexican investors are gradually moving their operations, as well as their way of life, to neighboring Texas, the business leader said.
The surge in crime is ravaging the business community in the border region and causing capital flight to the United States, the Fecanaco official said.
“The situation is of enormous concern for all the businessmen,” Almanza said.
“It is estimated that in 2010 alone, the worst year for the security crisis, an average of 210 million pesos (about $16 million) has fled to Texas as direct investment, destined for the establishment of businesses,” the Fecanaco official said.
Businessmen are moving their operations to Texas so they can feel more confident about the security of their money and operations, Almanza said.
“It is necessary for the government to focus more attention on actions to provide a boost to businessmen and investors, such as fiscal stimulus, a state tax holiday and guaranteeing access to loans at preferential rates, seeking to protect and encourage new investment, and ensure the permanence of existing investment,” Almanza said.
The business leader also called on the federal government to implement a stimulus program to protect investment in the border region to prevent further capital flight abroad.
Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state have been dealing with a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
The violence has intensified in the two border states since the appearance in February in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, of giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana drug cartels against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnappings, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans willing to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.