Mexico in 2013: The Funny, The Bizarre, and The Tragic

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Open Source is hosted by a Mexican-born journalist in love with the United States. Leon Krauze brings a unique perspective to stories and interviews relating to Mexico.

So we’ve compiled our top stories filed from Mexico this year.

1. Drug lord’s son brazenly posts photos of his over-the-top lifestyle to Twitter

Like most twentysomethings, Serafin Zambada likes to share snapshots from his life with his Twitter followers. Unlike most twentysomethings, Zambada is the son of one of the most fearsome drug lords in Mexico. He posted photos of gold-plated machine guns, stacks of money, bags of marijuana, and some of the gifts he gave his girlfriend, including a brand new Land Rover and a live leopard. Ioan Grillo, a journalist and the author of El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency, joined Open Source to discuss why drug cartel members feel so free to share on social media.

2. Governor kicks a soccer ball into a photographer’s face

Meet Baja California’s Governor Francisco Vega.

3. Mexican citizens revolt over oil reform

Manuel Rueda takes a look at how Mexican citizens have reacted to the government’s proposal for oil reform and privatization. The Mexican Senate had to build a ten-foot-tall barricade to keep angry protesters out.

4. Vigilantes fight back against Mexican drug cartels

Drug cartels in Mexico still hold a lot of power, and the new president has done little to stop them. Manuel Rueda traveled to the Michoacan state to see how local communities are fighting back.

5. Bulletproof car makers find opportunity in Mexico

Cartel violence in Mexico has given rise to a series of cottage industries aimed at keeping people safe. Manuel Rueda visited a bulletproof car workshop to find out how things are getting high tech in the world of armored vehicles.

6. Mexican town celebrates “Day of the Martian”

A TV station in Ciudad Madero has declared the last Tuesday in October the “Day of the Martian.” Ciudad Madero is one of the top cities for UFO sightings in Mexico, and local legend has it that there’s an alien base under the ocean 25 miles off the coast. Some residents joke that the aliens protect them from bad weather, like when Tropical Storm Ingrid passed through earlier this year with minimal damage.

7. Mexican ambassador says NSA spying could lead to “major breakdown”

A number of countries discovered the NSA was tracking them after Edward Snowden’s revelations earlier this year. The NSA hacked in to a key mail server that was also used by cabinet members and contained “diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico’s political system and internal stability,” according to the documents obtained by German newspaper Der Spiegel. Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, says his country is calling for an investigation.

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