The Mexican drug war has expanded to include social media, with this week bringing the murder of another blogger in Nuevo Laredo, just across the border from Texas -- if you believe the note that was left next to the decapitated body.
The note identified the victim as a moderator of Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, a local blog about goings-on in the city which has become a forum for reporting drug-related crimes and warning the public about dangerous areas, and stated, “this happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn't report things on the social networks.”
Previously Nuevo Laredo saw the murders of at least three other people for posting information about drug cartel activities on the Internet. In September the bodies of a man and a women, both in the early 20s, were left hanging from a highway overpass with a message which read “This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet. You better f*cking pay attention. I'm about to get you.” The banner specified two blogs to be avoided, El Blog del Narco and Al Rojo Vivo, both of which have documented murders and official corruption.
Later that same month another decapitated body turned out to be Maria Elizabeth Macías, 39, a freelance journalist and online commentator known as “La Nena de Laredo”; a message explained that she was killed for posting reports about drug-related crimes on “Nuevo Laredo en Vivo.”
All three notes were signed with a “Z,” indicating the murders were the work of the powerful Zetas gang, based in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
Although Macías was identified by her murderers, it’s not clear how the cartel uncovered her identity or the identities of the other victims -- or indeed whether the other victims were really bloggers at all. After the latest murder, one online commentator suggested that “as long as no one confirms [the victim] was an honest citizen, let's leave it as a doubt and continue on.” Of course if there are no further posts from the account of the victim, known online as Rascatripas, it would suggest the Zetas got their man.