CLBR #203: Battling Mexico’s Cartels Online with Rafa Fernandez De Castro

Battling Mexico’s Cartels Online with Rafa Fernandez De Castro

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Rafa Fernandez De Castro is a consultant for Mexico and Latin America for Fusion, a digital cable and satellite television network that is a joint venture between the Disney-ABC Television Group and Univision Communications.

(See below for more detailed bio)

De Castro recently wrote in Fusion How Narco Data seeks to x-ray Mexico’s drug cartels, detailing efforts by Narco Data to create an online platform to assemble historic and current information on the drug cartels.

He previously wrote Mexican vigilante groups take drug war online detailing how social media became an

influential weapon in the [armed vigilante groups fighting the cartels] strategy to win public favor by informing people about street shootouts, criticizing cartel leaders, and denouncing corrupt politicians.

The report added that the cartels were fighting back by hiring black-hat hackers to target anti-cartel bloggers.  Bloggers have been murdered and cartels may even be “kidnapping and enslaving young computer engineers and telecom experts.”

In August photo-journalist Rueben Espinosa was killed in Mexico City after fleeing Veracruz because of death threats.  The Guardian reports that Espinosa was

the 13th journalist working in Veracruz to be killed since Governor Javier Duarte from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) came to power in 2011. According to the press freedom organisation Article 19, the state is now the most dangerous place to be a journalist in Latin America.

Espinosa had been covering corruption of the Veracruz Governor believed to have ties to the cartels and the growing controversy of the “disappearance” or apparent slaughter of 43 students in Iguala.

Following the murder, more than 700 journalists, intellectuals, and artists sent a letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, urging him to put an end to the cycle of violence and to fully investigate crimes against the press.

In May, U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne decried the “alarming levels of impunity” in crimes against reporters in Mexico.  Ninety percent of journalist murders in Mexico go unresolved.

We had previously covered cartel violence against bloggers in 2011.


About Rafa Fernandez De Castro (con’t)

Before moving to Miami to join Fusion, he was the International Coordinator for One Three Media, a Hearst and Mark Burnett company based Los Angeles where he assisted the Senior Vice President of International Distribution & Production in the coordination of global format and tape license agreements with an emphasis in Latin America for shows like Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Bible and other upcoming projects.

Rafael has published for The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone Mexico, Hustler Magazine, ADN Político and Foreign Affairs Latin America. He has also written an original feature-length screenplay, “Young Apostles,” and was a quarterfinalist at the 2013 Fresh Voices Screenwriting Competition. He is the co-author of “The Federation,” an hour-long crime drama that is based on actual events and explores the intrigues of the modern drug war through opposing vantage points on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.


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