Austin, Texas — Twitter, but increasingly Facebook and YouTube, are becoming essential elements to the way ordinary people in Mexico protect themselves from the war on drugs, according to experts sitting on a panel at South By Southwest Interactive called, “Life on the Line: Tweeting the Drug War.”
Panelists included University of Texas at Brownsville professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, and journalists Melissa Del Bosque and Sergio Chapa.
Correa-Cabrera spoke about a study she’s been doing specifically on the border state of Tamaulipas, which she said is characterized by being the “cradle” of the Zetas cartel, having more bridges to the U.S. than any other Mexican state, and especially the city of Reynosa, which has seen much more violence than other areas.
After Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels in 2006, and then in 2010 when the Zetas and Gulf Cartel stopped working together, the violence exploded, Correa-Cabrera said. Consequently, journalists stopped covering the issue all together to avoid being killed, and so social media emerged as the go-to medium for information.
“The formal media was not reporting these events. This is a war, even if the Mexican authorities don’t call it [that], we’ve seen many manifestations of war in the country, like the number of people who have been killed, the number of places we find them — and social media users are doing this work,” Correa-Cabrera said, noting that social media is the only way she could get info about territorial control of the drug cartels in Tamaulipas.
source: POLITIC365 / Sara Inés Calderón