Mexican drug cartels appear to be using well known marketing tools to get their message of terror out: media banners and YouTube. Following the imprisonment or death of notable drug cartel members by Mexican officials, it is not an uncommon occurrence for fellow cartel members to engage in retaliatory intimidation tactics by posting banners in public spaces warning of pending doom. Mexican reporters have dubbed such banners “narco mantas.” Similarly, YouTube videos are being posted to send messages to Mexican authorities to warn of a pending crime or to discredit a rival gang.
In the video posted below a group of thugs covered to protect their identity parade automatic weapons, sing “narcorridos,” and giggle like “cool” kids while on a busy overpass of Mexico. Half of the men redirect traffic around their 2010 model SUV’s and the other half hangs a “narcomanta”—a giant banner that turns the bridge into terrorist ad-space.
Last Friday, Mexican authorities were working to identify the bodies of 18 bodies pulled from a mass grave outside Acapulco, after the grave’s location was revealed in a video posted on YouTube by unknown sources. In the YouTube video, two men confess to killing a group of Mexican tourists kidnapped Sept. 30 in Acapulco. Badly bruised and with hands tied behind their backs, two of the kidnapped men revealed the site of the grave that would become their own.
The internet is used not only to incriminate rival gangs and admit to crimes but also to discredit authorities. On Thursday, for example a man that had been kidnapped last month appeared in a YouTube video confession accusing his sister, a government official, of being involved with the cartels. His body was found later in the week.
This week the use of these heinous marketing tactics were readily seen. As a result of Tony Cardenas’ (co-leader of the Gulf cartel) death in a gun battle with Mexican authorities last week the banners in the video shown below were being put up on the streets of Nuevo Laredo early this morning. The banner warns against betrayal saying there is no room for traitors “not even in the pits of hell.”