Most Viewed Stories
San Luis, Ariz., and San Luis Rio Colorado mayors pledge close ties
SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — He's not due to take office as mayor here for another two months, but Leonardo Guillen is reaching out to his counterpart in San Luis, Ariz., in efforts to strengthen ties between their two cities.
The region's economy will depend on his city forging bonds not only with the neighboring Arizona border city, he said, but with Yuma County as a whole and with Baja California.
“We have to see ourselves as a region of sister communities. Having a good relationship implies that we ease all the red tape so that business flows smoothly (across borders).”
Guillen said his priorities also include making sure drug trafficking organizations don't gain a foothold in San Luis Rio Colorado, which so far has avoided the levels of narcotics-related violence seen elsewhere along the border.
Guillen, the candidate of Mexico's politically conservative National Action Party, won the city's mayoral race earlier this month. Formerly a member of Mexico's congress, he is scheduled to take office Sept. 16.
His comments came in a news conference after a recent meeting with Gerardo Sanchez, himself new to the position of mayor of San Luis, Ariz.
In pledging close ties between them, the two mayors effectively were reaffirming ongoing sister city relationships San Luis Rio Colorado has had with San Luis, Ariz., with Yuma and Somerton.
“I see a willingness to come to agreement, working in a coordinated manner and making regional issues a priority,” said Guillen, accompanied by several people who will serve with him as councilmen in San Luis Rio Colorado. “I welcome the desire of the mayor of San Luis, Ariz., to work hand in hand with those of us who are future officials.”
Issues the mayors discussed included waiting times for motorists crossing the border from San Luis Rio Colorado to San Luis, as well as efforts to secure funding to expand the port of entry into the Mexican border city to expedite the flow of southbound traffic.
“The purpose of this meeting was to get to know one another, to open lines of communication,” said Sanchez, who was accompanied at the bilateral meeting by San Luis, Ariz., council members Marco Pinzon and Maria Ramos.
“There will many issues between us,” added Sanchez, “but the key thing is that we support one another. We are in agreement that we are neighbors and that San Luis, Ariz., and San Luis, Son., have to progress and that we are going to do it.”
Sanchez said he found Guillen to be a “young man full of energy and of good ideas. Working together, we can accomplish many things, but the key is communication.”
Guillen also wants to build on ties his city has already established with Yuma, Somerton and Baja California. He said he sees a similar opportunity for police in his city and the Yuma area to work in a coordinated effort against drug- and human-smuggling organizations.
“Being a border city, there's always the possibility or the temptation for criminal organizations to try to locate their operations in this city. It's a reality. What has to be done is to have coordination among police so that our cities can continue living in a climate of tranquility.”
Although most recently the chief of police in San Luis Rio Colorado was murdered in May by gunmen believed linked to drug traffickers, San Luis has escaped the heightened violence seen in other Mexican cities.
Guillen sought, for example, to differentiate his city from Ciudad Juarez, where tens of thousands have died in recent years in killings linked to drug cartels.
“Fortunately, San Luis is not in that situation. What we have to do is prevent that situation from occurring.”