Borderland Beat

Last updated
Borderland Beat
Borderland Beat Logo.gif
Type of site
News Blog, Forum
Created by Buggs
Website BorderlandBeat.com
Alexa rank 72,784
Launched April 2009

Borderland Beat is an English language blog that reports news about the Mexican Drug War. [1] The blog was started in April 2009 by an anonymous individual using the pseudoynm Buggs, who remains the sole owner. The blog has been referred to and quoted in the New York Times , [2] [3] Small Wars Journal [4] and the Houston Chronicle . [5] [6]

The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing asymmetric low-intensity conflict between the Mexican government and various drug trafficking syndicates. In 2006 when the Mexican military began to intervene, the government's principal goal was to reduce drug-related violence. The Mexican government has asserted that their primary focus is on dismantling the powerful drug cartels, rather than on preventing drug trafficking and demand, which is left to U.S. functionaries.

The Small Wars Journal (SWJ) is an online magazine focusing on intrastate conflict. Aside from its online magazine, SWJ hosts an accompanying blog and the Small Wars Council discussion board. Other site features include an online reference library, recommended reading and event listings. The magazine is published by the Small Wars Foundation, a non-profit corporation.

<i>Houston Chronicle</i> newspaper in Houston, Texas, USA

The Houston Chronicle is the largest daily newspaper in Houston, Texas, United States. As of April 2016, it is the third-largest newspaper by Sunday circulation in the United States, behind only the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. With its 1995 buy-out of long-time rival the Houston Post, the Chronicle became Houston's newspaper of record.

Contents

In an article published in May 2012, the journalist, Gary Moore, described Borderland Beat as follows: "An English-language digest Web site called Borderland Beat forms a lonely watchtower on the Mexico battlements, manned by a small cadre of Mexican-Americans (my work has appeared there as well), who set themselves the vital mission of archiving any available news on Mexico's meltdown." [7]

A Der Spiegel article [8] includes a description of the main features of the Borderland Beat website.

<i>Der Spiegel</i> German weekly news magazine based in Hamburg

Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. With a weekly circulation of 840,000 copies, it is the largest such publication in Europe.

On average, there are between 3 and 4 news stories posted each day. In addition to the news pages, the site hosts a self-contained open forum which runs in parallel to the main news pages, where any registered user can post.

Editorial control is overseen by three site administrators, using pseudonyms; Chivis Martinez, DD and Otis, who also write for the news pages, together with a number of recognized contributors. In addition to recognized contributions, news stories are continually appearing on the open forum, where most remain; a few do get promoted to the news pages if they are deemed sufficiently interesting and factual by an administrator.

As of November 2014, the blog has had over 141,483,351 million visits since December 2009.

Danger to bloggers reporting Cartel violence

After the discovery in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on November 9, 2011 of the body of the fourth blogger to be killed in the space of a month, for posting online information about drug cartels, The Daily Dot , MSNBC and Der Spiegel each produced an article outlining the dangers such internet activity posed. For comment, The Daily Dot [1] and MSNBC [9] turned to Borderland Beat administrator "Overmex", while Der Spiegel [8] interviewed Borderland Beat contributor "Gerardo". In the interviews, the two bloggers reiterated their determination to continue reporting on the ongoing drug war, and not to be intimidated by the drug cartels' threats.

<i>The Daily Dot</i> Digital media company covering Internet culture, based in Austin, Texas

The Daily Dot is a digital media company covering Internet culture and life on the web. Founded by Nicholas White in 2011, The Daily Dot is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

MSNBC is an American pay television network that provides news coverage and political commentary from NBC News on current events. MSNBC is owned by the NBCUniversal News Group, a unit of the NBCUniversal Television Group division of NBCUniversal. MSNBC and its website were founded in 1996 under a partnership between Microsoft and General Electric's NBC unit, hence the network's naming. Although they had the same name, msnbc.com and MSNBC maintained separate corporate structures and news operations. msnbc.com was headquartered on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington while MSNBC operated out of NBC's headquarters in New York City. Microsoft divested its stakes in the MSNBC channel in 2005 and in msnbc.com in July 2012. The general news site was rebranded as NBCNews.com, and a new msnbc.com was created as the online home of the cable channel.

Quoting from an article in Bloomberg Businessweek : "To protect contributors, the editors of the blog Borderland Beat, which has a reputation as one of the most reliable sources of information on Mexico's drug violence, say even they don’t know the identity of some of the site's major contributors. Posts are often passed through intermediaries to protect secrecy. "They could be journalists, cops, politicians, maybe even cartel members themselves," says one of the blog's editors, who uses the nickname Buggs." [10]

<i>Bloomberg Businessweek</i> magazine

Bloomberg Businessweek is an American weekly business magazine published since 2009 by Bloomberg L.P. Businessweek, founded in 1929, aimed to provide information and interpretation about events in the business world. The magazine is headquartered in New York City. Megan Murphy served as editor from November 2016; she stepped down from the role in January 2018 and Joel Weber was appointed in her place. The magazine is published 47 times a year.

Trusted source

Borderland Beat has been used as a reference in academic papers submitted under the auspices of:

US Army War College , Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania [11] [12] [13]

Congressional Research Service , The Library of Congress, Independence Ave, SE Washington, DC [14]

San Diego State University , Campanile Drive, San Diego, California [15]

George Washington University , Eye Street, NW Washington, DC [16]

Georgetown University , 37th and O Streets, NW Washington D.C. [17]

Colgate University , Hamilton, New York [18]

Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana, Medellín, Colombia [19]

Oberlin College , Oberlin, Ohio [20]

Center for a New American Security , Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC [21]

Colgen LP, Defense Consulting Services, Mico, Texas [22]

Dr. Robert Bunker regularly writes about the Mexican Drug War for Small Wars Journal , and often refers to Borderland Beat for material. His May 31, 2012 blog post "Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #12" quotes extensively from a Borderland Beat news story. [23] Likewise, InSight Crime frequently uses Borderland Beat as a reference source [24] and they have also reproduced several Borderland Beat news articles in full. [25]

See also

Related Research Articles

Tijuana Cartel Criminal organization based in Tijuana, Mexico

The Tijuana Cartel or Arellano-Félix Organization is a Mexican drug cartel based in Tijuana. The cartel once was described as "one of the biggest and most violent criminal groups in Mexico." However, since the 2006 Sinaloa Cartel incursion in Baja California and the fall of the Arellano-Félix brothers, the Tijuana Cartel has been reduced to a few cells. In 2016, the organization has become known as Cartel Tijuana Nueva Generación and has begun to align itself under the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, along with Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO) to create an anti-Sinaloa alliance, in which the Jalisco New Generation Cartel heads, creating a possible powershift in Mexico.

Los Zetas Mexican criminal syndicate

Los Zetas is a Mexican criminal syndicate, regarded as the most dangerous of the country's drug cartels. While primarily concerned with drug trafficking, the organization also runs profitable sex trafficking and gun running rackets. The origins of Los Zetas date back to the late 1990s, when commandos of the Mexican Army deserted their ranks and began working as the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel. In February 2010, Los Zetas broke away and formed their own criminal organization, rivalling the Gulf Cartel.

Gulf Cartel drug cartel

The Gulf Cartel is a criminal syndicate and drug trafficking organization in Mexico, and perhaps one of the oldest organized crime groups in the country. It is currently based in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, directly across the U.S. border from Brownsville, Texas.

The Juárez Cartel, also known as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization, is a Mexican drug cartel based in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, across the Mexico—U.S. border from El Paso, Texas. The cartel is one of several drug trafficking organizations that have been known to decapitate their rivals, mutilate their corpses and dump them in public places to instill fear not only into the general public, but also into local law enforcement and their rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel. The Juárez Cartel has an armed wing known as La Línea, a Juarez street gang that usually performs the executions. It also uses the Barrio Azteca gang to attack its enemies.

The Sinaloa Cartel, also known as the Guzmán-Loera Organization, the Pacific Cartel, the Federation and the Blood Alliance, is an international drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate established during the mid-1980’s. The cartel is primarily based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, with operations in the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua. The 'Federation' was partially splintered when the Beltrán-Leyva brothers broke apart from the Sinaloa Cartel.

The timeline of some of the most relevant events in the Mexican Drug War is set out below. Although violence between drug cartels had been occurring for three decades, the Mexican government held a generally passive stance regarding cartel violence through the 1980s and early 2000s.

La Línea (gang) organization

La Línea is an enforcer unit of the Juárez Cartel originally set up by a number of former and active-duty policemen, heavily armed and extensively trained in urban warfare. Their corrupt "line" of policemen were set up to protect drug traffickers, but after forming an alliance with Barrio Azteca to fight off the forces of the Sinaloa Cartel in 2008, they established a foothold in Ciudad Juárez as the enforcement wing of the Juárez cartel. La Línea has also been involved in extortions and kidnappings.

Gente Nueva

Gente Nueva, also known as Los Chapos, in reference to their drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, was a group of hitmen that works as the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel, created to counter the Juárez Cartel influence in the Mexican north-west.

<i>Blog del Narco</i>

Blog del Narco was a blog that attempts to document the violent incidents and characters involved in the Mexican Drug War that never make it to government reports or the mainstream media.

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel is a Mexican criminal group based in Jalisco and headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords. The CJNG are currently fighting La Nueva Plaza for control of the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Los Viagras for the state of Michoacán, Los Zetas for the city of Puebla, the Sinaloa cartel in Tijuana and Baja California, and the Cartel de Juarez in Ciudad Juarez. The CJNG also operates in the states of Nayarit, Colima, and Guanajuato. While this cartel is best known for its fights against the Zetas, it has also been battling La Resistencia for control of Jalisco and its surrounding territories.

During the ongoing Mexican Drug War, drug cartels use propaganda through media and scare tactics to gain more control of its people and in many cases corrupting the government. The main goals are to glorify actions of the drug cartels and their lifestyle, gain control of the Mexican society to the highest extent possible, and to recruit new, educated, high class members to increase their power even further. These drug cartels use of propaganda and scare tactics are used in precise, complex and clever ways to get the most out of every action, resulting in their enormous power.

The 2012 Nuevo Laredo massacres were a series of mass murder attacks between the allied Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel against Los Zetas in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, across the U.S.-Mexico border from Laredo, Texas. The drug-violence in Nuevo Laredo began back in 2003, when the city was controlled by the Gulf Cartel. Most media reports that write about the Mexican Drug War, however, point to 2006 as the start of the drug war. That year is a convenient historical marker because that's when Felipe Calderón took office and carried out an aggressive approach against the cartels. But authors like Ioan Grillo and Sylvia Longmire note that Mexico's drug war actually began at the end of Vicente Fox's administration in 2004, when the first major battle took place in Nuevo Laredo between the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, who at that time worked as the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel.

<i>El Narco: Inside Mexicos Criminal Insurgency</i>

El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency is a non-fiction book of the Mexican Drug War written by Ioan Grillo. In El Narco, Grillo takes a close look at the Mexican drug trade, starting with the term "El Narco", which has come to represent the vast, faceless criminal network of drug traffickers who cast a murderous shadow over Mexico. The book covers the frontline of the Mexican Drug War. It seeks to trace the origins of the illegal drug trade in Mexico, the recent escalation of violence, the human cost of the drug trade and organized crime in the country. The book takes a critical stance on the unsuccessful efforts made by the Mexican government and the United States to confront the violence and its causes.

Cadereyta Jiménez massacre

The Cadereyta Jiménez massacre occurred on the Fed 40 on 12–13 May 2012. Mexican officials stated that 49 people were decapitated and mutilated by members of Los Zetas drug cartel and dumped by a roadside near the city of Monterrey in northern Mexico. The Blog del Narco, a blog that documents events and people of the Mexican Drug War anonymously, reported that the actual (unofficial) death toll may be more than 68 people. The bodies were found in the town of San Juan in the municipality of Cadereyta Jiménez, Nuevo León at about 4 a.m. on a non-toll highway leading to Reynosa, Tamaulipas. The forty-three men and six women killed had their heads, feet, and hands cut off, making their identification difficult. Those killed also bore signs of torture and were stuffed in plastic bags. The arrested suspects have indicated that the victims were Gulf Cartel members, but the Mexican authorities have not ruled out the possibility that they were U.S.-bound migrants. Four days before this incident, 18 people were found decapitated and dismembered near Mexico's second largest city, Guadalajara.

The Independent Cartel of Guerrero was a criminal gang based in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco, Guerrero and its surrounding territories. The criminal group came into existence during the rapid decentralization of Mexico's drug trafficking organizations and as a split-off group of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel. Originally, the Beltrán Leyva cartel operated in the city, but the group no longer has presence in Acapulco. After the Mexican military gunned down the top boss of the cartel – Arturo Beltrán Leyva – in December 2009, his brother Héctor Beltrán Leyva took control of one of the factions of the cartel and declared war on Edgar Valdez Villarreal, who had long been the right hand of Arturo. Amidst the violence, Valdez Villarreal tried to appoint a successor, but those in Acapulco broke off and formed their own criminal gang: the Independent Cartel of Acapulco. Within weeks, however, the group had splittered too, forming a new and rival group known as La Barredora. Villarreal Valdez was then captured by the Mexican Federal Police in August 2010, but the violence between the groups for the control of Acapulco continued.

The security policy of the Enrique Peña Nieto administration prioritizes the reduction of violence rather than attacking Mexico's drug trafficking organizations head-on, marking a departure from the strategy of the past six years during Felipe Calderón's administration. Peña Nieto has set up a number of conceptual and organizational changes from the past regime policy, and one of the biggest contrasts is the focus on lowering murder rates, kidnappings, and extortions, as opposed to arresting or killing the country's most-wanted drug lords and intercepting their drug shipments. The government of Calderón, however, has justified its position by stating that the current violence in the country is a necessary stage in Mexico's drug war, as weakening criminal groups fight for territorial control against one another and the government. Moreover, part of Peña Nieto's strategy also consists on the creation of a national police made up of 40,000 members, known as a "gendarmerie." He also proposed on centralizing the sub-federal police forces under one command. The president-elect emphasized that he does not support the involvement or presence of armed U.S. agents in Mexico, but considers allowing the United States to instruct Mexico's military training in counterinsurgency tactics. Beyond that, Peña Nieto promised that no other measures will be taken by the U.S. in Mexico. While campaigning, Peña Nieto appointed a former general of the National Police of Colombia as his external advisor for public security, and boldly promised to reduce 50% of the murder rates in Mexico by the end of his six-year term.

<i>Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexicos Drug Wars</i> book by Sylvia Longmire

Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars is a non-fiction book about the Mexican Drug War written by Sylvia Longmire, an independent consultant, freelance writer, and former Air Force captain. In her book, Longmire gives an overview of Mexico's drug war and describes the impact it has on the United States' national security. Drawing from her experience as an intelligence analyst of drug trafficking and border security, the author details the holes of the current drug policy of both the United States and Mexico.

The infighting in Los Zetas referred to confrontations between two factions in that criminal organization, Mexico's most violent, one led by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alias El Lazca and the other led by Miguel Treviño Morales, alias Z-40. The rumors of the split appeared in mid-2012, when public banners and music videos on the web alleged betrayals between the two leaders. After the death of Lazcano it was confirmed that the leaders were not confronting each other, but rather that some men within Morales' faction did not want him as leader.

Marisol Macías Castañeda, also appearing as Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro in media reports and known for her online name "NenaDLaredo" or "La Nena De Laredo,", was a Mexican editor-in-chief for Primera Hora in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico and posted information about drug activities online. Macías was secretly reporting using the internet site Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, or Nuevo Laredo Live, about drug cartels in her city. Los Zetas murdered her in a publicly visible and brutal slaying with a note near her body as a warning to others. Her murder is the first documented murder of a journalist by a drug cartel in retaliation for journalism that was posted on a social media site.

References

  1. 1 2 "Mexican drug war blogger risks his life daily" The Daily Dot . November 17, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012. "Archived"
  2. "In Mexico, Social Media Become a Battleground in the Drug War" New York Times . September 15, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012. "Archived"
  3. "Mexico Turns to Social Media for Information and Survival" New York Times . September 24, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  4. "Borderland Beat referenced in Small Wars Journal" Small Wars Journal . June 20, 2012. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  5. "Cartel king "El Chapo" getting vicious along Texas-Mexico border" Houston Chronicle . March 28, 2012. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  6. "Mexican crook: Gangsters arrange fights to death for entertainment" Houston Chronicle . June 11, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  7. "Gaze Not on the Face of Evil: Massacre by Assembly Line" Horizon. May 26, 2012. Retrieved on October 16, 2012.
  8. 1 2 "Wer Bloggt, dem Droht der Tod" Der Spiegel . November 14, 2011. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.
  9. "Blogger on Mexico Cartel Beheading: 'Cannot Kill Us All'" MSNBC . November 10, 2011. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.
  10. "Mexico's Drug War Takes to the Blogosphere" Bloomberg Businessweek . November 09, 2011. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.
  11. "The Closest Alligator to the Boat: Mexico's Drug-Fueled Violence" US Army War College . January 28, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  12. "Mexico's 'Narco-Refugees': The Looming Challenge for US National Security" US Army War College . October, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  13. "US-Mexico Security Cooperation: The Time to Act Is Now" US Army War College . June, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  14. "Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence" Congressional Research Service . August, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  15. "The Exploitation of Social Media by Clandestine Groups" San Diego State University . July, 2012. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  16. "Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations and Marijuana: The Potential Effects of US Legalization" Archived January 31, 2012, at the Wayback Machine . George Washington University . April, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  17. "Fighting For The Plaza And The Pueblo: Assessing The Role Of Hearts And Minds In The Mexican Drug Conflict" Georgetown University . April, 2012. Retrieved on November 07, 2012.
  18. "A Reputation for Violence" Colgate University . August, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  19. "Tourism Risk Management in an Age of Terrorism" Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana. June, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  20. "The Transnational Gaze: Viewing Mexican Identity in Contemporary Corridos and Narcocorridos" Oberlin College . May, 2010. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  21. "Security Through Partnership: Fighting Transnational Cartels in the Western Hemisphere" Archived November 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine . Center for a New American Security . March, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  22. "Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment" Archived December 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine .Colgen LP. September, 2011. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  23. "Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #12" Small Wars Journal . May 31, 2012. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
  24. "Borderland Beat articles referred to on InSight Crime" [ permanent dead link ] InSight Crime . November 24, 2012. Retrieved on November 24, 2012.
  25. "Borderland Beat articles reproduced on InSight Crime" [ permanent dead link ] InSight Crime . November 24, 2012. Retrieved on November 24, 2012.