From Facebook to Twitter these social media platforms are used by millions across the world to share personal views, insight, and thoughts in order to connect with others. While some users use these platforms merely to be funny or kill some time, some users take to the social media world in order to fight for a cause.
During the Egyptian protests or the protests in Ferguson the tweeting-tool of Twitter became a stomping ground to show the world of political action and keep others in similar conflicts connect. Like the many who use Twitter for political and social purposes, Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, a Doctor and Journalist, was a Twitter who used her account to combat the Mexican Drug Cartel, but sadly her fight came to a chilling end last week.
Using the pseudonym Felina—in honor of the DC Comics vigilante-heroine Catwoman—Rubio used her Twitter account to track the violent activities of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas who are heavily active within the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
Using both Twitter and Facebook, Rubio’s accounts and the citizen news site she operated called, Valor por Tamaulipas (Bravery for Tamaulipas) garnered 510,000 fans on Facebook and 100,000 followers on Twitter. While local citizens flocked to read Rubio’s reports on the gang activity of the local cartels, sadly so did the cartel.
According to sources, Rubio began receiving death threats back in October from the cartel. Despite the risk and death threats, Rubio continued reporting on the cartel. Not knowing who Felina was the cartel took to the streets and attempted to track her down, and on October 16 the cartel was successful.
Able to identify Rubio as Felina, the cartel used the very account she used to expose their crimes and showed her murder to her followers and millions to see across the Twitter sphere.
“Friends and family, my real name is Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, I am a doctor, today my life has come to an end,” is what a tweet read along with two photos of Rubio being posted. One photo showed Rubio with a forlorn expression, while the second was of her lifeless body with a bullet wound to her head.
After the tweet, the cartel gang members who executed Rubio then tweeted, “Shut down your accounts, do not risk your families’ lives as I have done. I ask your forgiveness,” as a warning for others who would attempt to do what Rubio devoted her life to doing.
“Today Miut3 ceased to report,” said the founder of Valor por Tamaulipas, who remains unidentified, reporting on Rubio’s death. “But what the criminals don’t know is that Miut3 is part of our soul and she will never permit us to surrender to organized crime. She will never surrender, and how disappointed she would feel knowing that a single one of all those whom she helped were to succumb.”
According to the citizen news site, Rubio was “an angel who gave everything, her life, her future, her safety and peace, she gave it all for the good people of our state.”
Over the last two years there have been incidents that are closely similar to Rubio’s. According to Reporters Without Borders, Mexico has become the most dangerous place for journalists to work in and has resulted in the deaths of seven journalists who would risk their lives reporting on the drug cartels.
“Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the murder of María del Rosario Fuentes Rubio and urges the government to investigate thoroughly to identify those responsible as quickly as possible,” said Reporters Without Borders’ Deputy Program Director of Virginia Dangles.
Since her murder, Rubio’s followers on Twitter took to the social site to express their mourning for the loss of a courageous journalist who knew the dangers she was facing. With the increasing deaths of civilians, children, and those who report against them by the drug cartels let’s hope that the effort and sacrifice of Rubio and other journalists like her is able to inspire others to continue the fight and show that fear should never be a silencer for justice and freedom.