La Cartita News

Fake News Travels Fast: How Tijuanenses Are Suffering A Disinformation Outbreak (19/11/2018)

La Cartita --- In Tijuana, all migrant caravans are received generously, with kindness that has bonded two distinct communities into one over the shared experience of border separation. Families split apart over an arbitrary and oppressive barrier find solace in being near the goal, but being able to regenerate and rest. Tijuana, unlike Ciudad Juarez, has always been special in it's hospitality towards our Southern and Central American neighbors. However, a recent disinformation campaign currently playing out blatantly on social media threatens to derail all that humanity.

While the people of Tijuana are among the kindest, the city government that currently manages local affairs is not. The PAN affiliated mayor, Juan Manuel Gastelum, is looking for any kind of fame, speaking distastefully of Honduran refugees and pandering to gringos in the north. His political party is employing a bot farm likely near the border to diseminate fake photos and social media posts through facebook, primarily.

In other words, there is a partisan, self-serving motivation for both amplifying existing hate and serving it on international platforms.

The PAN is the same party that launched a failed drug war resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans. The ability to be callous and smear victims is part of their DNA.

Fake News sets Mexicans on a collision course with stupidity.

Consequently, fake news posts have emerged online that purport to show Honduran refugees speaking distastefully about Mexican food and customs. For example, a recent viral post - which was likely manipulated by a PAN operated troll farm - is alleging to show a Honduran man complaing about food. He holds a sign saying 'we do not want beans and tortillas. That's for pigs'.

Actual photo of the man alleged to have insulted Mexican food.

Highly insulted, many Mexicans have railed online against the non-existent offense. Fake news spreads fast, however, the rabbit hole has no end in sight.

The altered post compared with fake.

In actuality, the man is holding a sign declaring his stance against authoritarian governments. He also wishes for his son to receive a decent education.

These are further from the truth, with many Hondurans speaking openly about their gratitude towards Mexicans. Also of importance is the historical context of Tijuana.

Salvodoreans, Haitians and others too, have found Tijuana to be hospitable as they engage in business, labor or a varied set of cultural and productive activities.

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