“Mexico’s drug war” – One of the predictable results of prohibition

A small army of bloggers and tweeters is filling the gaps left by traditional media in Mexico that are increasingly limiting their coverage of the country’s drug wars because of pressure from the cartels.

“Shots fired by the river, unknown number of dead,” read one recent tweet on a busy feed from the northern border city of Reynosa, #Reynosafollow. “Organized crime blockade on San Fernando road lifted,” said another. “Just saw police officers telling a group of narcos about the positions of navy checkpoints,” ran a third.

Nothing of this kind appeared in the city’s papers which, along with most media outlets in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas, have become better known for what they do not publish than for what they do.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ttarasiuk

Tamaulipas is one of the most intense battlegrounds of the drug wars being fought in Mexico between the federal forces and at least seven cartels.

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El Blog del Narco was set up in March and posts the information, photographs and videos it receives unedited and without comment.

The result is a catalogue of horror absent even from the national press, which still covers the violence from the relative safety of its headquarters in the capital.

Offerings last week included a video of the interrogation and execution of four alleged hit men, photographs of a car found in a Pacific coast resort with two heads on the roof – the headless bodies were on the back seat – and the army’s discovery of a torture house about an hour’s drive from Mexico City. Much of the material comes from the cartels themselves, but in an email interview with the Guardian, the anonymous administrator insisted he has no direct relationship with them.

“We just publish the information,” he wrote, adding that the blog sometimes receives 4m visits a week.

“Blog del Narco grew because the media and the government are trying to pretend that nothing is happening in Mexico.”

Twitter feeds and blogs tell hidden story of Mexico’s drug wars,” by Jo Tuckman, The Guardian, September 26, 2010

El Blog del NarcoWARNING – Graphic photos and video