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Progress requires cross-border cooperation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Every 10 years or so, a secessionist movement stirs up in Texas, like the one that state is presently experiencing.

A petition advocating for Texas to secede from the U.S. has already been signed by more than 25,000 people. The basis for the movement is disagreement with the federal government pertaining to its fiscal and security policies, including TSA searches at airports.

While Texas has had its independence advocates since it joined the union in 1845, the current secessionist movement has enjoyed widespread publicity, mainly due to the modern-day strategy of using websites and social media.

I look at the movement and wonder, with the difficulty of fiscally managing a nation and its diverse factions of peoples, why anybody would want to set up their own country. However, I can understand the frustration that people are experiencing who feel that their voice is not being heard.


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The U.S.-Mexico border region, as important as it is economically, is often ignored by Washington, D.C., and Mexico City. At a more local level, the border region is often ignored by the powers that be in the state capitals of border states. The El Paso/southern New Mexico region can be used as an example.

In 1850, El Paso’s citizens opted to become part of Texas, rejecting its historical connection to New Mexico. Referred to as “El Paso del Norte” (Pass to the North) in colonial times, this city was a major gateway to New Mexico on the Camino Real that stretched from Mexico City to Santa Fe. The “pass to the north” in this case was the pass to Santa Fe.

Since its entry into Texas, this city has struggled to make Austin aware of its needs and its unique status within the state. El Paso, with a more than 80 percent Hispanic population, is overwhelming Democratic, while the state has been controlled by Republicans for the better part of two decades. Many El Pasoans would argue that they don’t receive enough love and attention from the rest of the state, and many times they feel like marginalized Texans.

Likewise, New Mexico’s political and economic power base has been centered in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe region. This state’s border with Mexico has struggled for attention in the power base located in northern New Mexico, many of whose power brokers look at the state’s border as an endless desert far removed from what they consider New Mexico’s historical and cultural region.

The U.S. and Mexico come together physically via the nearly 2,000-mile-long border between the nations. This region plays a natural role of industrial production and the logistics required to send products to target markets on either side of the border. The logistical superiority of two economic powerhouses being located next to each other, coupled with the economical labor force, make the border region an important place where companies can achieve the advantages necessary to compete in the global market. The border’s popularity as an industrial and logistical base will continue in the future as industrial and supply chains tighten.

I do not advocate secession for any region of the U.S. However, if the current Texas secessionists really want to be successful in their secession, they probably should include the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, which is an industrial powerhouse. Nuevo Leon’s capital is Monterrey, which with all of its steel, glass, food, brewing and telecommunications industries, is often referred to as the “Pittsburgh of Mexico.” With a per capita income of more than $46,000 per citizen, it is one of Latin America’s richest cities.

Nuevo Leon has been accused by the political base in Mexico City of being too close to the U.S. in economic and social terms. People from this state, referred to as “Regiomontanos,” are often called the “Texans” of Mexico. In 1840 and 1856, Nuevo Leon declared its independence from Mexico, but its separatist movement was defeated. Hard feelings ensued between Mexico City and Nuevo Leon for decades – many people say that these hard feelings exist today. In fact, it wasn’t until 1992 that Nuevo Leon, with its short, nine-mile-long border with the U.S., was granted a port of entry with Texas, most likely because its cozy relationship with Texas was viewed with suspicion in Mexico City.

Today, Nuevo Leon, with its powerful industrial base and familiarity with the U.S., is often discussed as a likely prospect for a Major League Baseball team, if this league ever seeks international expansion in the future. With its power and riches, Nuevo Leon would be an economic engine for a future Texas-northern Mexico secessionist movement.

Or, the secessionists can stay put and lend their efforts to a more realistic goal — working to provide the foundation to make Texas a major player in global trade, based upon its strong relationship with Mexico. The U.S.-Mexico trade relationship will be a major factor in both North American nations’ ability to remain economically strong and to compete against other regions of the world. Secession isn’t the answer to the solving of economic and security issues — mutual cooperation between both nations is.

Jerry Pacheco is the executive director of the International Business Accelerator, a nonprofit trade counseling program of the New Mexico Small Business Development Centers Network. He can be reached at 575-589-2200 or at