InSight Crime’s Favorite Fan Mail of 2016

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InSight Crime receives dozens of emails each week from our audience. Below, we share some of our favorite praise for our work, angry rants, opinionated commentary and even apparent solicitations for criminal activity.

Praise

We love hearing from readers like Dario. We’re not sure which country he’s writing from, but we’re glad he finds our work informative.

16-11-27-FanMail-Dario

We also love hearing from other journalists. Our work was cited by some heavy hitters this year, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. But this thank you email from a reporter at Sweden’s second largest newspaper really warmed our hearts.

16-11-27-FanMail-Olle

We even got a thank you note from an employee of the US State Department. It’s nice to be reminded that our work is useful to policymakers.

16-11-27-FanMail-Mathew

And we particularly appreciate Jose sending us a panda emoji to show gratitude for the work we do. Nothing says “thank you” like a panda emoji.

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Rants

We always appreciate constructive criticism from our audience. But some readers provide us with feedback that is — shall we say — less than helpful.

Take for example this message from “Kris Kringle.” Kris took issue with an analysis we published in September mentioning Rob McEwen, the president of a Canadian mining firm who admitted in a 2015 interview with Canada’s Business News Network that his company maintained a “good relationship” with Mexican cartels.

Obviously, our intention was not to smear McEwen, but rather to illustrate the links between legitimate mining operations and organized crime. And as for Kris’ allegation that we “distort the news completely, just to make money,” we would like to point out that we are in fact a non-profit foundation.

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“BOB” got quite upset about the “LIES” we are allegedly spreading regarding the involvement of Mexican groups in the cocaine trade.

To be clear, we have reported on Colombia’s status as the world’s number one source country for cocaine, and we have extensively covered the main Colombian crime groups involved in the production and distribution of this drug. But we have also reported that the vast majority of cocaine entering the United States transits through Central America and Mexico, with Mexican crime groups playing a key role in trafficking the drug.

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Michael let us know that he took issue with our coverage of the US presidential election.

For the record, InSight Crime is politically neutral and does not support any political parties or candidates. Readers can judge for themselves whether we lived up to this ideal with our coverage of President-elect Donald Trump.

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We’re not sure what got “El Detective” so angry, but he seems to suggest that we could be targeted for legal or extra-legal retaliation.*

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One of our Facebook followers pointed out that our coverage of drug trafficking in Honduras may have sparked a smear campaign against our co-director Steven Dudley.

New York Times journalist Alberto Arce was also accused of being part of the supposed plot to delegitimize the Honduran government.

Commentary

Some of our readers wanted to share their thoughts about news events related to the topics we cover.

“Dr. Anonimo” sent us a tip that “organized crime members who practice the occult…are using psychology to transmit messages with thought.” Our editorial team ultimately decided not to follow up on this potentially explosive scoop.

16-11-27-FanMail-Anonimus

Peter got hold of our co-director Steven Dudley’s email address and asked him to address drug legalization in the United States and public contracting reforms as policy prescriptions for reducing corruption in Guatemala.

In fact, we had previously covered Guatemala’s steps toward reforming its public contracting system. And the US elections that took place a few days before Peter sent us this email gave us a chance to discuss the potential impacts of the legalization of marijuana in California.

16-11-27-FanMail-Peter

Rodrigo wrote us “to say hello but also complain” that the US government “should be more hard” on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC). We’re not exactly sure what he would like us to do about this, but we appreciate his candor.

16-11-27-FanMail-Rodrigo

Gustavo wrote to us to express his admiration for the late drug lord Pablo “Escabor,” whose Medellín Cartel was based in the same Colombian city as InSight Crime. We can’t say we share Gustavo’s sentiment.

16-11-27-FanMail-Gustavo

Solicitations

Some of our readers appear to be confused about our mission; we aim to study organized crime, not to actively participate in it.

We were contacted separately by two purported purveyors of precious minerals from Africa. The legality and legitimacy of these schemes is unclear, but both raised some suspicions on our part.

The first contact came from “Prince Musanje Rogers,” asking us if we’d be interested in a variety of precious metals from Africa.

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The second request came from “Badra,” who specifically wanted to know if we were interested in diamonds. Needless to say, we didn’t respond to either message.

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Another person contacted us to let us know he was interested in “joint business” with the “American mafia organization.” He claimed to be able to buy property near Japan’s main international airport, and also stated that he wanted to “make contact with CIA staff working at the American embassy.” Again, we declined to respond.

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Thank You for a Great Year

In all seriousness, the InSight Crime team would like to thank our readers for helping to make 2016 an excellent year. We put in an immense effort to ensure that every article and investigation is as interesting and informative as possible, and we are glad to know that our audience appreciates our work. Nevertheless, we are always seeking to improve, so please feel free to contact us and share your thoughts about how we can better our coverage, or to let us know how our work has been useful to you. Thanks again, and have a happy new year.

*UPDATE: “El Detective” wrote us again a few days after this article was originally published. The entire content of his message appears below in unedited form:

Hello sir , thank you for your professional investigative services I hope you have a great 2017 year full of good reports regarding crime in Latin America.
Sir El detective was mentioned by one of your staff members and it appears that the content was taken out of context by the Insight Crime author in that particular communication El detective was referring to the criminals in CA and at no time was intended to target any Insight Crime staff member.
Have a great new year and cheers from El detective.

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