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Marie Claire (South Africa) - - INTERNATIONAL REPORT -

THIS PAGE Ser­afín Zam­bada has reg­u­larly posted ev­i­dence of mur­ders com­mit­ted by men linked to his fa­ther’s car­tel. Vice re­ported one photo from Ser­afín’s Face­book page showed a man whose mid-sec­tion was sliced open – just pun­ish­ment for be­ing a ‘rat’, he wrote.

While the car­tels might be seem­ingly happy to use so­cial me­dia for their own pur­poses, they have re­acted vi­o­lently when op­po­nents have used these chan­nels to crit­i­cise them. In 2011, po­lice in Nuevo Laredo found a woman’s de­cap­i­tated corpse with a sign say­ing she had been mur­dered as a reprisal for post­ing on a so­cial me­dia site, re­ported The Guardian. The note was signed with the Zeta car­tel’s ‘Z’ trade­mark.

Cit­i­zen re­porter Dr Maria del Rosario Fuentes used an anony­mous Twit­ter ac­count to post in­for­ma­tion about car­tel ac­tion in her home­town near the Rio Grande. On 15 Oc­to­ber 2014, the 36-yearold was kid­napped by armed men and a warn­ing was tweeted to her fol­low­ers: ‘Close your ac­count. Don’t risk your fam­i­lies as I have. I ask for for­give­ness.’ It was fol­lowed by two im­ages: in the the cam­era. In the sec­ond she is on the ground, with a bul­let in her head.

‘Cy­berspace and so­cial me­dia of­fer car­tels a free “soap­box” that can’t be con­trolled in the same way as tra­di­tional me­dia like print and TV,’ An­toine says. ‘When in­creas­ing con­nec­tiv­ity in places like Mex­ico is paired with high rates of vi­o­lence and crime, car­tel pres­ence on­line is no sur­prise. What’s more, lack of ef­fec­tive law and or­der can lead car­tel mem­bers to feel in­vin­ci­ble on­line.’

In­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ists are not the only ones to at­tract the car­tels’ ire. Af­ter El Chapo was re­cap­tured in Jan­uary, cur­rent Mex­i­can pres­i­dent Enrique Peña Ni­eto was quick to claim the vic­tory, tak­ing to Twit­ter to announce it was ‘mission ac­com­plished’. El Chapo’s son Iván replied di­rectly with a se­ries of clear warn­ings: ‘You don’t know what you’ve done or the mess you’ve got­ten your­self into,’ said one. ‘Just as we put you in the pres­i­dency, we can just as eas­ily take you out,’ read an­other. Younger son Al­fredo tweeted the gov­ern­ment, warn­ing they would ‘know of the Guzmáns very soon’.

The Mex­i­can Drug War shows lit­tle sign of wan­ing. Yet as au­thor­i­ties strug­gle to con­tain the vi­o­lence that con­tin­ues to rav­age their coun­try, the car­tels’ new­found on­line savvy means au­thor­i­ties

Im­ages posted on the In­sta­gram ac­counts of Clau­dia Ochoa Félix and broth­ers Iván and Al­fredo Guzmán show the wealthy and dan­ger­ous life­styles into which they were born

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