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Cartoon characters take on Mexico's drug war

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Cartoon characters take on Mexico's drug war

Mexican government uses cartoons, police dramas to win public opinion

  • gobiernofederal screengrab

It's not easy to put a positive spin on more than 35,000 deaths in four and a half years.

Press releases and speeches only go so far in convincing Mexicans to support the drug war fight.

So now the government has turned to animated cartoons and TV characters. A recent cartoon campaign aims to debunk Mexico's drug war "myths," reports the BBC.

The cartoons are set to animated music and address myths such as "the government has no strategy," "the army systematically abuses human rights" and "the solution would be to negotiate with the criminals."

And a new police procedural drama debuted on Mexico's Televisa network this spring. "El Equipo" ("The Team") portrays federal police officers dodging bullets, flying around in helicopters and outwitting evil drug traffickers.

The show, wrote the New York Times, "does not try to resolve the contradiction between what citizens here think of their police — incompetent at best, criminal collaborators at worst — and a sympathetic portrayal on screen. Instead it opts for “24”-style bluster. The show turns on the exploits of the members of an elite crime-fighting team so heroic that its members don’t even need last names."

But ratings for "El Equipo" were poor, and many Mexicans weren't happy that the government had disguised its PR agenda as a prime-time TV soap opera. Only after the show ended did Mexican newspapers uncover that the Ministry of Public Security had paid Televisa more than $10 million to produce the series.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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