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As I crossed the Gateway International Bridge from Brownsville, I saw an imposing white tollgate with the words “Bienvenidos a Mexico” on the structure’s facade. I felt joy. Beyond was Matamoros, a city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas that I last visited in February 2020. Accompanying me was Nathan Burkhart, a native Brownsvillian and Tejano (he was part of the 2020 excursion too), and my friend Rodrigo Bravo, from San Antonio. My happiness turned into excitement as we passed through the gate and entered a plaza featuring a towering abstract sculpture that had a vaguely Mesoamerican style. We met up with Oscar Zertuche, who grew up in Matamoros, went to school in Brownsville, and has been a longtime friend of Burkhart’s. He would guide…
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