Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas and Coahuila to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities. The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “JA Espinoza” from Matamoros.
MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — The Tamaulipas state government is continuing look at various ways to muffle news outlets in order to show a positive side to the area and to minimize the out of control violence in the region and to present a positive side to things.
As the state prepares for the upcoming gubernatorial elections this coming year, the region continues to deal with a public safety crisis. In an effort to address both, Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu held a meeting with the heads of various radio and televisions stations to call for a “common agenda.”
The governor met with the various representatives of the Chamber of Radio and Television Industries (CIRT) where he established new rules aimed at lowering the impact of the prevailing lack of security in the area and displaying the positive sides of Tamaulipas. As is common knowledge in Mexico, election season brings about a wave of campaign ads that take over all news outlets and turn out to be a very lucrative venture for news outlets.
Breitbart Texas has spoken with various leaders in the media business in Mexico who have stated that government advertising, not only in campaign season, is one of their main sources of income. The advertising revenue generated by government programs with the local state and federal government can be as low as 30 percent to more than 55 percent, a key figure in Mexican media told this outlet. The buying power by government officials gives them power over how officials and their programs are portrayed.
According to information provided by the government about the meeting, the “common agenda” aims to have “people talking good about the good things in Tamaulipas”. Tamaulipas officials are trying to allege that there are more positive sides than negative sides to this border state.
The goal of the meeting was to promote tourism, economic development and social and cultural events in all of the cities in Tamaulipas while downplaying the out of control violence that continues to take place in Tamaulipas .
The meeting with the governor was held in Ciudad Victoria and those in attendance included CIRT’s President Eduardo S. Gallegos, CIRT’s VP, Francisco Azcarraga Lopez, CIRT’s Secretary Enrique Cardenas Jacaman, Treasurer Jorge De La Colina Sordo, Victor Noguez Diaz, Javier Vargas Seib and Esteban Angel Mucino. The former head of the CIRT Victor Flores was also in attendance.
WORKING THE IMAGE AS VIOLENCE RAGES
The raging wave of violence that has held Tamaulipas hostage during the last few months has resulted in dozens of fierce gun battles that have killed scores of gunmen, civilians and law enforcement officers. Despite all this, the Tamaulipas government is looking to change the negative image of a state that has been subdued by organized crime.
The ongoing violence in Tamaulipas has led to international news outlets looking to the area as they report on how the capabilities of drug cartels continue to overwhelm capabilities of the state. The control is not only achieved to brute force, but also to the widespread corruption that has become synonymous with Mexican border states. The sad reality as reported by international outlets has painted the area in a negative light.
Currently the control all the information that is published or printed is at the hands of the government and the hands of organized crime since both groups have de-facto editorial control. The state has also failed in producing realistic figures as to the true scope of the violence and crime in the region.
During the las few months the border city of Matamoros has been the stage of fierce shootouts, kidnappings, extortions and the arrest of top cartel figure, however when the government controlled information is released, the numbers of casualties, or crime statistics are covered up.
In Tamaulipas, the media control strategies are doubled up during election time and on Egidio Torre Cantu’s fifth year in office, the political machine is looking to forge new alliances with the news outlets that play a big role in the political game.
As such, the order given by the governor is that Tamaulipas must be presented as a privileged area filled with economic opportunities and prosperity in order to draw in foreign investment and votes for his party.
The leverage used to control news outlets is the disbursements of massive advertising contracts. The financial control of editorial content allows politicians to control their image, their party’s image and the image of the programs they wish to push. For 2016, the government controlled media will continue to minimize violence and paint a gentler side for Tamaulipas under the name of a “common agenda”.