Crime tracking webpage Valor x Tamaulipas

A Facebook page known as "Valor x Tamaulipas" and its Twitter account, both of which tracked crime in the embattled state by the same name, have been taken down following threats against the administrators, raising concerns over the ability of citizen journalists to continue to fill the gap left by a cowed mainstream media.

For over a year, the Valor x Tamaulipas ("Bravery for Tamaulipas") Facebook and Twitter pages had published information and security alerts related to organized crime, after many of the local and national media organizations halted coverage. The coverage was spotty, sometimes unreliable, but often the only source of what was happening, as witnessed in a recent battle in the city of Reynosa.  

The coverage led to trouble. In February, thousands of fliers were distributed in various Tamaulipas cities offering a reward of over $46,000 for information on the identity of the site administrator. Shortly thereafter, a Youtube video was uploaded that warned against publishing on such sites -- mentioning Valor x Tamaulipas by name.

Both the Facebook and Twitter pages were taken down suddenly at the start of April. A new page with the same name has sprung up since with a message from adminstrators saying they did not know what had happened to the adminisitrator of the original page, but that they wanted to continue the same work. 

Still another page called Valor por Tamaulipas also exists, raising concerns and confusion about who is running these operations and to what end. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The administrator, or administrators, of Valor x Tamaulipas understood the risks. In a correspondence with El Pais, the page administrator(s) said, "I am playing with fire."

However, the extent to which criminal groups have pursued the page is a worrying sign, showing that they consider this form of media an effective threat to their activities and are prepared to take serious measures to ensure that this threat is closed down. The page's enemies may have also included government officials, who were frequent targets of criticism for their lack of action in the face of criminal activity.

Valor x Tamaulipas is one of numerous social media sites and blogs that have sprung up in an attempt to continue publishing information on organized crime in regions where conventional media have been intimidated into silence.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Prev Next

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...