By Erica Laster
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – Nuevo Laredo, the busiest city along the United States-Mexico border with a population of over 360,000 is adhering to a near complete news blackout. Drug cartels have forced the population and news outlets to stop reporting events occurring from drug related violence. The Televisa affiliate in Nuevo Laredo suffered from a grenade attack thrown at the front door of its building less than two weeks ago. However, both Televisa and its competitors failed to report on the attack.
Using telephone calls, news releases and emails, drug smuggling organizations dictate the boundaries of what may be printed or aired to the public. “We are under their complete control,” claimed a veteran reporter speaking anonymously. Another editor claimed, “The cartels have eyes and ears inside our company.”
All of those who agreed to speak with the Washington Post insisted on anonymity and that any interviews take place at empty bars away from their offices.
Four journalists were recently kidnapped after covering a protest resulting from a warden’s alleged release of armed inmates. In murder for hire, 3 massacres occurred with the prisoners given access to jail guard’s vehicles and weapons. While many of the dead were rival gang members, authorities confirmed that 17 young people were killed in an attack on a birthday party after prisoners shot randomly into the crowd – and then returned to their cells. Ricardo Najera, a spokesman for the office of the attorney general indicated that ballistics matched four of the guns used in the shooting as the same assigned to guards in the northern Mexico jail.
Government officials and military representatives are also at the mercy of drug cartels. The mayor of Nuevo Laredo disappeared for four days, returning with the refusal to discuss violence resulting from drug cartels. Federal police, prosecutors and the military general presiding over city soldiers have refused to answer reporters’ questions or issue statements on drug violence. With the arrest of 62 cops allegedly suspected of helping drug cartels, the country is facing a serious crisis.
“Intimidation and coercion have been taken to an extreme level. This drug war is also a war of information. The cartels are now telling reporters what they can and cannot print, and the drug organizations themselves are the content providers,” the Latin America director of the Committee to Protect Journalists said. According to Director Carlos Lauria, 30 journalists have disappeared or been murdered since Mexico’s President launched a U.S. backed offensive against drug crimes.
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For More Information Please Visit:
NY Times Mexican Officials Say Prisoners Acted As Hit Men 25 July 2010
Washington Post In Mexico’s Nuevo Laredo, Drug Cartels Dictate Media Coverage 2 August 2010
CNN 62 Cops Linked to Drug Cartels Arrested In Mexico 29 July 2010