In an earlier post, I talked about Mexico’s drug war. Because the cartels have murdered journalists, and infiltrated news organizations, it can be difficult to follow the conflict using the main-stream Mexican press. For this reason, Mexicans themselves have increasingly turned to blogs that cover the conflict -so called Narco blogs- to gain information that may be difficult for conventional reporters to print. At the same time, some of these blogs clearly play to people’s interest in sensationalism, and most sometimes contain videos or photos that are disturbing and violent, or even have been filmed by the cartels themselves. The bloggers are also facing pressure, although sometimes it is unclear from whom the threats are coming. In particular, Mexico’s Blog del Narco has had trouble remaining accessible, which has attracted media coverage in the United States. Still, for students interested in Latin America, and what is happening in Mexico, these blogs are a useful resource, particularly if they speak Spanish, so I wanted to list a few here.
One English language site is the Borderland Beat, which has frequent posts. Be forewarned, however, that there is very disturbing content on this blog. Another useful site is El Blog del Narco on the Hispanically Speaking News.
Of course, far more material is available in Spanish. One highly active site is Guerra del Narco, which can easily have seven to eight postings in a day. A similarly active site is the Blog del Narco, which is probably the best known blog. The anonymous author began posting in March 2010, and the website is now a staple for everyone following Mexico’s conflict. Another site, Mundo Narco, is not only highly active, but also represents a particularly useful source to track information related to Mexican armed forces and military activity. Lastly, the website Narcotrafico en Mexico provides good coverage, but be forewarned that it also has very disturbing photos and videos.
Sometimes the best way to convey information may not be through text but through the arts. The photography of Shaul Schwarz is a powerful document of the drug culture, and how it has impacted Mexican society. Tim McGirk also has a good article in Time about narcocorridos, the genre of music that celebrates Mexico’s drug lords. John Burnett’s NPR piece on narcorridos also lets students hear some old school narcocorridos, and forms a good point for a class-room conversation about music, drugs and popular culture.