Benjamín Galván Gómez, Mayor of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

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Galván Gómez
Mayor of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
By Adriana Maciel, Mexico Editor

31 August 2010: Benjamín Galván Gómez, a man ‘born to serve’, is the newly elected Mayor of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. The city in northern Mexico borders Laredo, Texas, and is regarded as a ‘land port’ of first significance. The Río Bravo river forms the boundary and together the two cities constitute the bi-national Nuevo Laredo-Laredo Metropolitan Zone.

While its mayor is popularly viewed as someone who puts others before himself, the city itself is regarded as the most important border zone in Mexico and Latin-America because of its extensive economic and commercial activity. According to the 2005 Mexican census, Nuevo Laredo’s population was 355,827. In 2008, including the inhabitants of Laredo, Texas, the total figure was 718,073.

More than 36 per cent of Mexico’s international trade passes through Nuevo Laredo. Its economy is centred on commercial and industrial imports and exports between Mexico and the US. The city’s infrastructure is sufficiently advanced to meet these trade demands. Its import/export services depend on train and articulated trucks as well as specialised load distribution and consultancy services. It is considered to be the most important international land port on the North American continent. More than three thousand vehicles cross the border daily, with 1,500 goods trains per year. Nuevo Laredo has four international bridges connecting it to the US.

Unfortunately Tamaulipas is one of those Mexican states blighted by drug-related violence. According to Will Glaspy, director of the Antinarcotics Agency office in McAllen, Texas, the bloodshed seen in Tamaulipas is due to rivalry between the “Golfo” drug cartel and the “Zetas” criminal gang. Last June the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate for state governor, Rodolfo Torre Cantú, was ambushed and murdered - presumably by the drug cartel’s gunmen.

Benjamín Galván Gómez, the PRI-elected Mayor of Nuevo Laredo, was born in the city on 10 June 1972. He gained a Bachelor’s degree in public accountancy and auditing, and a further degree in law. He is currently head of the state’s tax office, where he maintains direct contact with tax payers. During the day he is to be seen in the street with a microphone, inviting citizens to discuss their tax affairs and grievances. People seeking solutions to their problems clearly appreciate being accorded such treatment.

He is also president of “Casa del Migrante Nazareth” (the Nazareth Migrant House) that provides migrants from Mexico and elsewhere with food and shelter, clothing and medical care. It also extends spiritual help and guidance. All are received with humanity and dignity, and their human rights respected. For his work there and at the Red Cross of Nuevo Laredo, he had the Service to Humanity Award conferred on him by Club Sertoma. He is president of the Red Cross, where he began working as a volunteer 20 years ago. He has held office there as under secretary, secretary, deputy treasurer, treasurer, and vice-president.

Benjamín Galván is general director of the “Primera Hora” and “Última Hora” newspapers. He is a founding partner of “Consultores de Nuevo Laredo”, a juridical, administrative, accountancy, and foreign trade consultancy firm. He has been a university professor for more than 15 years in three of the 10 universities in Nuevo Laredo. He is also a member of the Institutions Board of Nuevo Laredo and among other things has served as director of Civil Protection and Firemen (1996-1998) and tourism director (1999-2001). He was elected Alternate Councillor in the Municipality of Nuevo Laredo (1996-1998) and Alternate Local Deputy of Tamaulipas State (1999-2001).

Benjamín Galván won the July 2010 mayoral election with 73 per cent of the vote.

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