BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Reynosa is a city across the border from us. It is among the areas overflowing with drug violence.
Some lawmakers in Washington call Mexico lawless. Others say that's perception is not the reality.
A video was given to us by the Mexican government of a shootout in late January between members of a drug cartel and the Mexican military in Reynosa. With hundreds of shots fired and a shoot to kill orders the four drug cartel members did not make it out alive.
This type of military action happens daily in many parts of Mexico. Reynosa just happens to be a cartel hot spot right now. The government has sent hundreds of soldiers and marines to take care of business.
While the sure gun power and force of this type of operation is impressive, it's the bad guys, and not the military most residents of Reynosa fear.
It's not uncommon to hear gunfire in the streets every night. Finding anyone to talk about it is another story.
While cartel violence across Mexico is unfortunately common place, it's one cartel split in half-fighting for power, that is causing problems in Reynosa. Two leaders of the gulf cartel fighting for "La Plaza", a term used to describe territory. The right to do illicit business. Combine that with two smaller groups fighting for their place in the profits and the Mexican military trying to stop it and many times it appears Reynosa is in the middle of a war zone.
Many Mexican leaders paint a different picture. A calmer, less violent Mexico, with a few pockets of increased bloodshed-spurred on by Americans insatiable appetite for drugs and the U.S. Government's seemingly unwillingness to stop the illegal gun trade. Drugs going north. Guns going south and billions of dollars to be made.
While the bad guys are making those billions many border cities on the American side are losing millions. The debate in Washington and the general perception of the American public still that all the border region, not just Mexico, is a dangerous violent place.
While drug cartels battle on the streets of Mexico, the battle in communities like McAllen and Brownsville is to make sure to tell a story of border safety and security.
In fact, McAllen recently reported the lowest crime rate in decades. It is ranked as one of the safest cities in the U.S. along with El Paso. Even at a time that Ciudad Juarez across the border had the most violent era in its history with thousands killed in less than a year's time.
Still all the talk does nothing for the average Mexican that can't escape the violence.
Government officials say it may also mean dialing down the rhetoric and putting aside politics in a spirit of working together for a better tomorrow, better Mexico, a better border region.