It turns out that the blogger behind "El Blog del Narco," an acclaimed Mexican website that features a steady stream of stories on the country's drug war, is a woman in her twenties, says an exclusive report published on Wednesday in The Guardian and the Texas Observer.
Historically speaking, it's rare for women in countries like Mexico, in part because of a culture of machismo, to even consider taking on these kinds of challenges. That, of course, is changing for at least two reasons. One, this generation is growing up digital, and as groups like Anonymous have taught us, all you need is a laptop. Two, gender roles are also shifting in that country. Women are having fewer children and refocusing their energies on issues like education. Or in this case, cartels.
"Who am I? I'm in my mid-20s, I live in northern Mexico, I'm a journalist. I'm a woman, I'm single, I have no children. And I love Mexico," the blogger, who asked to be referred to as Lucy in order to protect her identity, told the newspapers in a telephone interview. "I'm in love with my culture, with my country, despite all that's going on. Because we're not all bad. We're not all narcos. We're not all corrupt. We're not all murderers. We are well educated, even if many (foreign) people think otherwise."
Lucy launched El Blog del Narco on March 2, 2010 during one of the most violent years of the Mexican government military offensive against drug cartels. Since then, Lucy and a man who is in charge of the site's tech support and security have published graphic pictures and gruesome stories about cartel killings and other drug-related events, despite threats from the Mexican government and the cartels.
In Mexico, at least 60,000 people have died since 2006 because of the drug war. And at least 42 journalists have been murdered by cartels in the same time period.
"Blog del Narco has been a window for people to know about the violent events that are taking in place in Mexico every day," Lucy wrote in a recent blog post.
The website's numbers seem to support her. El Blog del Narco receives nearly three million visitors every week, and is ranked as one of the 100 most read sites in Mexico. Its Twitter account also has almost 130,000 followers. Her effort, however, is marked by the constant fear of reprisal. Lucy told The Guardian that a couple of photographers who used to collaborate for the website were found dead in September 2011. They were disemboweled and tortured, and a sign that attributed this act to the feared Zetas Cartel, was found next to the bodies: "This is going to happen to all those Internet whistleblowers. Be careful: We are watching you. Att: Z (The Zetas)," the sign read."
Lucy told The Guardian that only close family knows that the she is the person behind the blog, and that she has kept going only because she wants the truth to be known. On Wednesday, Blog del Narco also released a book, published in English and Spanish, that details the killings in Mexico in 2010, and how the site's creators risked their lives to report on these crimes.
The book is called, Dying for the Truth: Undercover Inside the Mexican Drug War.
"We decided to write this book because we don't know what might happen tomorrow," Lucy wrote, "but we [now] know that the book is there, that the words that detail the cruel and sad truth that our country has endured for years are there, even if some people say that nothing is happening here."