Deborah Esch

Professor at University of Toronto, with previous appointments at Princeton and Stanford Universities. Author of ‘The Brevity of Life’ (2010) and ‘In the Event: Reading Journalism, Reading Theory’ (1999). Currently blogs at and microblogs @bsovereign.

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Latest posts by Deborah Esch

Mexico: U.S. Alleges Iranian Assassination Plot Involving Los Zetas

  13 October 2011

Reports that the U.S. Justice Department charged two men with conspiring with "factions of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabia's U.S. ambassador and to bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington - allegedly with assistance from the Los Zetas drug cartel - provoked strong reactions from netizens in Mexico and around the globe.

Mexico's ‘Train of Death’

  8 August 2011

Thousands of Central American migrants risk their lives to hop on top of moving freight trains going from southern Mexico to northern destinations along the US border. A new documentary tells the story of the 'train of death' known as 'The beast'.

Mexico: Netizens Put Death of Osama Bin Laden in Context

  4 May 2011

As news of United States Special Forces' targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden was broadcast around the world, netizens in Mexico tweeted and blogged their responses to this signal event in the “war on terror.” Tellingly, in the vast majority of cases their language invoked the “war on drugs” that has been imposed on them by their own government since 2006.

Mexico: Felipe Calderon's Cabinet on Twitter

  19 April 2011

In mid-April, the government headed by Felipe Calderon announced with much fanfare that every member of the cabinet was now registered on Twitter, and prepared to deal more directly with the public via social media. The initiative, however, is shadowed by a concurrent report ranking Mexico just 78th out of 133 countries in terms of its effective use of information technology.

Mexico: Netizens Deploy the “Failed State” Meme

  13 April 2011

The idea of Mexico as an actual or potential "failed state," pending since its introduction into public discourse in 2008 following news of a report to this effect by the U.S. Joint Forces, has become a popular meme in its own right on the Internet, as bloggers and other netizens deploy the parlance (signaled on Twitter by the ubiquitous hashtag #estadofallido) for their own critical purposes.

Mexico: News of US Clandestine Operation Draws “Fast and Furious” Response

  8 April 2011

Mexican netizens take to their blogs and Twitter accounts as an interview with a former head of the ATF (the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) in Mexico makes public "Operation Fast and Furious," under which ATF officers secretly monitored - without intervening - as more than 2,000 weapons were purchased at outlets in Arizona and transported over the border into Mexico.

Mexico: U.S. Drones Gather Intelligence on Drug Cartels

  21 March 2011

A story first reported on March 15 by The New York Times has garnered strong responses from Mexican netizens based at home and abroad. Citing American and Mexican officials, the paper reported that "the Obama administration has begun sending drones deep into Mexican territory to gather intelligence that helps locate major traffickers and follow their networks."

Mexico and Afghanistan Border Conflicts Juxtaposed

Netizens are responding to several reports that juxtapose the violence in the Mexico/US border with the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and its border with Pakistan. Though uncoordinated and apparently disparate, the reports have served to crystalize problematic aspects of American policy.