America clamps down on online anonymity, the last refuge of Mexico’s free press
The last time I went to Mexico I was mugged at gunpoint on the same day that the country’s anti-drug czar was found to be a paid informant for its cartels. Since then, things have become so much worse that they now approach the surreal: in August, seventy-two migrants were massacred for refusing to become cartel assassins; in September, the prosecutors assigned to the crime were murdered as well. The cartels slaughter police and politicians with impunity; they have built roadblocks to wall off highways and entire downtowns. Meanwhile, corruption is beyond rampant — one of the major cartels, Los Zetas, is led by former Mexican Army Special Forces soldiers.
And those are just the stories we know. The Mexican press regularly censors itself, and who can blame it, when reporters and photographers are murdered every month? El Diario, the newspaper in Cuidad Juarez, bloodiest city of all, recently ran an editorial that begged the local drug lords to “explain to us… what you would like us to publish or stop publishing… because the last thing we want is for another one of our colleagues to fall victim to your gunshots.” (more…)
Crime is a big problem in the developing world. Take it from me: just last week I got mugged at gunpoint in Mexico City’s almost comically crime-ridden district of Tepito, infamous for its huge flea market full of incredibly cheap goods of incredibly dubious provenance. (I was there to research a novel. Honest.) According to Tepito’s Wikipedia entry, “popular stories tell of people buying these products and being robbed some streets later by the sellers themselves.” Now that’s a business model!
I’d like to show you some pictures of the market, but the muggers stole my camera, so here’s a Mexican security vehicle instead: