To live in no man’s land


“Rusty Monsees”

“Southmost” – Brownsville, Texas – Cuban Alfredo Monsees lives in “no man’s land,”  a neighborhood the locals jokingly call “the gated community,” which lies between the Rio Grande and the fabled border wall, cut off from America by a tall fence of steel pickets that cuts through his land.

He’s lived on his grandfather’s 34-acre farm most of his life. His father rode with Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, raiding and skirmishing along the Texas border because, “He knew that if there is no middle class, there is no possibility the people of Mexico may accumulate wealth.” A rotund, russet-colored man, “Rusty” is 66 and lives on about $750 per month in Social Security benefits.

According to tax information posted on-line, its agricultural use value is $2,703; agricultural market value is $21,966; land value, $13,000; building value $13,534; total value for property, $26,534; land type, “improved pasture.”

His speech is peppered with references to individuals he identifies only as “an agent,” men who gather intelligence for “an agency,” and his conversation is the type of well-informed narrative one would expect from a scion of a family he describes as “gypsies,” people who lost numerous relatives to both the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau, as well as to the machine guns of Soviet troops in the 1956 uprising of  youthful Hungarians at Budapest.


A surveillance “tower” at the Monsees farm

He and a force of about a dozen armed, volunteer citizen soldiers who refer to themselves as “patriot volunteers” and eschew the term of “militia,” keep a vigil at this outpost along the levee in an ox bow of the meandering river, sandwiched between a wildlife refuge and a neighborhood of modest homes. In all, he estimates that about 300 people live outside the fence, a population that controls about 30,000 acres of agricultural land that stretches from the outskirts of Brownsville to the outfall of the river at the Gulf of Mexico.

Here, in a subtropical climate of “two summers,” farmers produce crops of cotton, strawberries, citrus, produce, and grain in the rich alluvial soil irrigated by wells and canals.

The gated community

The levee near the 4300 block of Monsees Rd.

Human traffickers and drug smugglers controlled by “CDG,” the “cartel del golfo,” cross the Monsees farm on a routine basis, whenever the Border Patrol and Customs agents aren’t watching, according to Rusty, who says he sees soldiers dressed in the uniforms of Mexican Marines, Iranian guards, Albanian soldiers, as well as Hamas an ISIS activists.

Refugees can scale the iron pickets in “less than a minute,” he says. He’s watched them on a daily basis. He scoffs at government claims that in the year prior to the fence’s erection, 90,000 apprehensions were made, followed by an improved record of 150,000 once the iron barrier went up.

He points to the numerous scuff marks left on the rusty iron by the shoes of illegal immigrants.


Footprints on a Wall

The going rate for a stolen child sold into sex slavery in brothels located anywhere from Matamoros to Asian and European capitals trips off his tongue.  According to “an agent” for a government intelligence outfit, 15 children have been abducted this year from local neighborhoods. “They know exactly where a kid is sleeping in the house,” he says. Two have been returned, ransomed by contributions of concerned citizens and family.

It’s not a pretty picture. Last week, a tipster told one of the band of patriot guardsmen that a coyote for the cartel would be bringing a group across the river. They would cross at a wildlife refuge nearby. When the men witnessed the crossing, he explains, Border Patrol Agents detained them for the Sheriff of Cameron County, who confiscated their weapons and a video camera. “So far, they haven’t gotten them back,” says Rusty.

Typical, he explains, of the way things are in Southmost, this incident is only one of a hundred daily occurrences amongst people whose family pedigrees he can recite at will, where they played their football, went to school, who they married. He recalls that just downriver, there is a large landowner who is left in peace by the Gulf cartel and its enforcers, the feared band of ex-special forces soldiers, los Zetas, because, “He keeps his mouth shut about when the loads are coming through.” He explains that he, himself, is ranked eighth on the list of Southmost border dwellers who have a price on their heads.

How does he know? An “agent” has confirmed it, he declares.

To watch a video interview, follow this link:

According to K.C. Massey, commander of the band of patriot soldiers, the man whom agents fired upon, a youthful soldier named “Jesus,” has been cited by government agents and Texas authorities as a known felon. He claims the young man has been “off paper” for the requisite five years, that Texas law sees him as a man fully restored to his civil rights. It’s a matter pending in the courts. A judge will decide.

Brownsville Fence

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