Far West Texas- Tucked away in the Big Bend Ranch State Park lies a sleepy border crossing at the Rio Grande. For a long time, it was the only link to Boquillas, Mexico. A long-time staple of the crossing was the sound of “Cielito Lindo” sung by a man known by many as “The Singing Mexican” — Victor Valdez.
Word of Valdez’ passing from a heart attack spread fast in the far West Texas border communities. Boquillas is well known as a remote Mexican town cut off from civilization when the U.S.-Mexico crossing was closed shortly after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The border crossing recently celebrated the third anniversary of its re-opening.
“I’ve known him for at least 35 years,” said local Jim Milburn, who confirmed Valdez’ death. “He used to be the only boatman until the 9-11 closing of the border.”
Milburn, like many, remembers the sound of Vasquez’ powerful voice resonating across the river’s banks.
"When the border was closed, like Monday and Tuesdays, he would sneak across in Boquillas Canyon,” Milburn said. "He definitely is a loss to the fabric of Boquillas. Tourists and locals alike will greatly miss him.”