Tijuana Protesters: Keep Old Border Crossing Open

Cross-border traffic at El Chaparral has gradually been allowed to increase in density.
  • Cross-border traffic at El Chaparral has gradually been allowed to increase in density.

A Tijuana citizens group, Los Integrantes de la Coalición Pro Puerta México (Coalition for the Port of Mexico) met in Plaza Viva Tijuana a few days ago to petition for the permanent opening of the older border-crossing facility for vehicular traffic. The 100-member group requested that their position be endorsed under law by all three levels of government active in the region.

The federal government has taken the position that the old station should be closed down — the sooner, the better. Much to the consternation of the group, only one rep from Tijuana’s city hall attended the meeting/demonstration.

Coalition founder Alberto Escourido was quoted in Tijuana’s daily Frontera as saying, ”What we want is simple. To have a dialogue and to ask [the government] that they not close Puerta Mexico…."

The concern seems to be that a letter of terms has been sent to the United States, indicating that Puerta Mexico will be closed down on November 1 of this year.  

“We want a guarantee”, said Escourido, “because this port is an escape valve if the traffic becomes congested.” Escourido, an accountant, also pointed out that with both ports open, traffic will flow in a fluid manner from the U.S. into Mexico and will benefit tourism and the international commerce.

They mayor of Tijuana, Carlos Bustamonte, was quoted in a recent Frontera interview, saying that the commerce problems of Tijuana and the border region were now not so much a matter of fear and security concerns, but rather of protracted border-crossing times.

The former director of Tijuana’s school of engineering (Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles), Filiberto Enríquez, was quoted by Frontera, saying that although the El Chaparral project ought to not have problems functioning, there still are deficiencies in the design that may present problems when traffic flow is heavy.

Light traffic has been running through the system with a minimum of problems since the new crossing's official opening on October 24. Traffic has gradually been allowed to increase in density.

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