Mexico’s Top Narco-Blogger Comes Forward
Guns, drugs, murder. Death squads and cocaine cowboys. That’s what life is increasingly like in the wealthy Mexican city of Monterrey, barely two hours south of the border. And an anonymously-typed website called Blog Del Narco is documenting Monterrey’s decline as it happens.
Even if you don’t read Spanish (like me), the images on Blog Del Narco tell the gruesome story. Old, wealthy men held hostage and humiliated. Paramilitary cops in ski masks taking dudes into custody. People walking the streets in body armor, automatic weapons out. Then there’s all the dead bodies and shot-up cars.
Facing a situation like that, it’s no surprise that the blog’s author, who’s not even 30 years old, would want to stay anonymous. Which is why it’s remarkable that he’s given an interview to Boing Boing describing what it’s like to work in a wealthy city turned urban warzone. “People have a right to know why things have become so insecure in recent years,” he tells Boing Boing. “The violence that is happening in Mexico is not because the public reads about what is happening in BlogdelNarco.com, the factors that provoke violence in Mexico are much more important, and ultimately they are economic.”
As he emails Boing Boing, the Mexican government — bought off by the narco-gangsters — wants to “pretend that NOTHING IS HAPPENING.” His blog has accordingly attracted a community of 3 million unique monthly viewers that wants a news outlet that doesn’t “pre-digest the news before publishing it.” That means publishing a lot of raw material — both in terms of how graphic it is and how seemingly unedited it is. Asked if he’s being used for propaganda purposes by his sources, he essentially shrugs: “[W]e’re not investigators, for that there are the police.”
But he may have a point about Mexico’s unwillingness to face how dire its narco-crime problem is becoming. Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton compared the rise of the gangsters to the narco-guerillas that plagued Colombia for decades — and even used the I-word. “These drug cartels are showing more and more indices of insurgencies,” she told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations.
That earned Clinton a swift rebuke from the Mexican government. “We do not share these findings,” a top adviser to President Felipe Calderon told reporters shortly after Clinton’s remarks, “as there is a big difference between what Colombia faced and what Mexico is facing today.” For good measure, he noted that the rise of violent drug crime is fueled by the U.S.’s ceaseless appetite for narcotics.
Whatever the explanation, Blog Del Narco shows no signs of relent in documenting the phenomenon. “[W]e decided to tell people what is actually happening and tell the stories exactly as they happen, without alteration or modifications of convenience,” its author tells Boing Boing. “The main goal of the blog is to help Mexican people to take all necessary measures against the insecurity.” Read the whole thing, and follow the guy on Twitter.
Credit: Blog Del Narco
Monday, September 20, 2010
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