Alfonso Sánchez Garza. Mayor of Matamoros, Mexico

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Alfonso Sánchez Garza
Mayor of Matamoros

By Adriana Maciel, Mexico Editor

31 August 2010: Alfonso Sánchez Garza, 38, elected Mayor of Matamoros on 4 July 2010, is one of the youngest new political faces in Mexico. He won because of his dedication to the poor and needy. The city of Matamoros lies in the northern state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The Rio Bravo river is its natural border with Brownsville, Texas. It has a population of 462,000 and is part of the Matamoros-Brownsville Transnational Metropolitan Zone.

The economy of Matamoros depends mostly on the investment by US firms through 115 “maquiladoras” - bonded assembly plants near the US border producing medium and high technological appliances, textiles, and chemical products. It also relies on merchandise traffic across its four international bridges, together with US tourism. 

Matamoros is an important service centre for financial, commercial, governmental, medical, land and train transport. Agriculture, livestock farming and fishing are also important economic activities. Though Matamoros is on the Golfo de México coastline it has no tourist resorts with their attendant big hotels, but its Bagdad beach is popular among residents and tourists because of its warm waters.

Tamaulipas is one of those Mexican states contaminated with violence arising from the narcotics war. Will Glaspy, director of the Antinarcotics Agency office in McAllen, Texas, said it stemmed from rivalry between the “Golfo” drugs cartel and the “Zetas” criminal gang. Last June the PRI’s candidate for state governor, Rodolfo Torre Cantú, was ambushed and shot dead - presumably by the drug cartel’s henchmen.

Alfonso Sánchez Garza, of the PRI party, was born in Matamoros on 13 September 1971. A civil engineer, he created the AS Construcciones company, which builds industrial complexes. He started his public service as a delegate of the Tamaulipas Institute of Housing and Urbanization.

Alfonso Sánchez founded the Ophthalmologic Institute of Matamoros, which runs important programs such as bringing in brigades of doctors from the US to undertake eye tests, and in certain cases eye surgery for the elderly. The program involves the free distribution 800 pairs of spectacles a month to the poor. Alfonso Sánchez, who has also been deputy for Matamoros, won the mayoral elections with 64 per cent of the vote as a direct result of his dedication and intense activities in helping the needy.

Among his political activities he has been municipal political consultant to the PRI party and president of the municipal and local deputy. He sits on the commissions of Communications and Transportation (president); Urban Development (secretary); Housing (secretary). He is also a member of the commissions on Public Security, Prevention and Social Reintegration; Finance, Planning, Budget and Public Debt; Science and Technology; Commercial and Industrial Development; and Water Resources.

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