How Mexican drug gangs use YouTube against rival groups
Mexican police uncovered a mass grave this week with aid of a YouTube video posted online by a drug gang. Rival gangs have turned to social media before to publicize the crimes of their enemies.
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This tactic is used not only to incriminate rival gangs, but also to discredit the authorities, says Jorge Chabat, who studies the drug war at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico City.
“If the police don’t succeed in capturing the perpetrators of a crime, and the criminals do, the public comes to the conclusion that the Mexican government is inefficient,” Mr. Chabat says. “This disapproval leads to [public] pressure to stop combating organized crime.”
These so-called investigations by cartels should not necessarily be interpreted as traffickers wishing to supplant the work of government institutions, Chabat says. However, he adds, La Familia might be the exception, because it has expressed desire to become a political force.
A total of 20 tourists were kidnapped in Acapulco on Sept. 30 while visiting the beleaguered resort city from Michoacan. Acapulco’s mayor has since warned residents not to go out at night.
Despite the video confession that the mass killing was a revenge attack against La Familia, relatives of the victims have said they were honest mechanics with no ties to organized crime. Police say none have a criminal record and it is unclear whether the men were mistaken for traffickers.
Family members of the 20 tourists traveled to Acapulco on Friday to identify whether the bodies were those of their loved ones. The bodies of two of the kidnapped tourists are still missing.