After the existing Monterrey consulate was attacked with gunfire and grenades, the US has broken ground on a new ultra-secure consulate with a perimeter wall in violence plagued northern Mexico.
MONTERREY, Mexico – The US has broken ground on a new ultra-secure consulate complete with a perimeter wall and high tech security in the violence plagued northern Mexico region.
The U.S. government plans to spend $150 million on the construction of a new consulate in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.
The deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, John Feeley, and the consul general in Monterrey, Bruce Williamson, among other officials, participated in the ground breaking ceremony on Thursday for the new consular complex.
The construction of the NCC (New Consulate Compound) reflects the importance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico and is a step forward in cooperation and partnership between our nations – a partnership based on mutual interests, mutual respect, and mutual responsibility, Williamson said.
The diplomats said the new facility would provide a safe and functional space for the more than 200 employees at the consulate in Monterrey.
The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey ranks among the top five for visa volume in the world and No. 1 in providing temporary employment visas.
The project consists of a consulate building, three compound access control facilities, a parking garage, a recreation facility, a vehicle maintenance facility, and a mail screening facility, the consulate said in a statement posted on its Web site.
The consular facility in Monterrey will be the third large project undertaken in the past 10 years by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations and will cost more than $150 million.
The U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, was completed in 2008 and the consulate in Tijuana, near San Diego, California, is expected to be finished this month.
The new consulate, which will be constructed by Yates Desbuild of Philadelphia, Mississippi, is expected to be completed in January 2013.
The existing consulate, which is in downtown Monterrey and has been leased by the U.S. government since 1969, was attacked with gunfire and a grenade in October 2008, but the grenade failed to explode.
The attack was carried out by gunmen working for a drug cartel, and the perpetrators were recently arrested.
In March, three people associated with the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez were killed.
Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States.
Since Mexico President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the drug trafficking cartels, an estimated 23,000 people have been killed, with a death toll of nearly 8,000 in 2009 and over 4,000 so far in 2010.
The US Merida Initiative provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence in the fight.
Sunday June 13,2010