Narco Blogs: Following Mexico’s Drug War

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. …

Mexico’s Military and the Drug War

I already discussed the drug war in Mexico in an earlier blog posting on the UNC website. But it’s worth returning to this topic, because of many new developments since last February. At this point, over 45,000 people have been killed in the drug war since President Calderon began it in December 2006. The toll of this carnage has been described in detail by the Los Angeles Times, which has had the best coverage of this conflict from its inception. Sadly, its very difficult for Mexican reporters to cover this conflict, because the drug cartels have infiltrated the major media organizations, and are killing reporters who cover the war. For this reason, Mexicans have turned to twitter and blogsfor information. While these sources provide a great deal of information,  one topic, in particular, seems to me to be under-covered: the struggle’s impact upon Mexico’s armed forces.

Photo of army truck by Stuart Miles

Hillary Clinton was widely denounced within Mexico in September 2010 for declaring that the conflict had taken on the appearance of an insurgency. But the reality is that Mexico is no longer primarily engaged in law enforcement, but rather a war between the government and the cartels. Mexico has become a frequent topic in the Small Wars Journal, which is devoted to low-intensity warfare (the British term) and counter-insurgency operations (COIN, the American term). Consider a recent communique from the Zeta’s drug cartel, as described on a blog covering the war:”A communique from the special forces of the Zetas. Message to the nation, the government, and all of Mexico and to public opinion. The special forces of Los Zetas challenges the government and its federal forces. Not the Army, not the marines nor the security and anti-drug agencies of the U.S. government can resist us. Mexico lives and will continue to live under the regime of Los Zetas. Let it be clear that we are in control here and although the federal government controls other cartels, they cannot take our plazas. You want proof? Look at what happened in Sinaloa and Guadalajara. If we can get all the way into their kitchen we are not going to lose control of our territory. Sincerely, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, Z-40.” Such statements leave little question how the cartels themselves view the contest. …

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