Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby Doctor

Before the violence caused by the drug war, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo were closely related. On the Mexican side there was a doctor, Salvador Pena, who delivered more than 5,000 babies over a period of years. In the early days pregnant women from Laredo went across the river to see Dr. Pena because they trusted him. When I first met Dr. Pena he was 82 years old. He lived into his 90s.The new mothers would rush back across the border to the U.S. side so they could register their new baby as U.S. born. I met Dr. Pena at a private club in Nuevo Laredo where he was having a late lunch with the mayor of the city and two attorneys and the head of the schools. He was affable. "In order to live as long as I do you need to enjoy a daily siesta, preferably with a young woman," he told me. This history was well known on both sides of the Rio Grande. It was a way of life which suited most of the residents.

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