A viral video of an obviously affluent Mexico City driver seen almost running over a cyclist, fighting with a police officer, and then speeding away, has become the latest example of how social media is exposing the aggressiveness and arrogance of the country's elite.
"This is Mexico, dude, got it?" the young man in a white t-shirt and sunglasses tells the officer at one point in the video. "Call my dad, dude."
Cyclist Ari Santillán began filming with his phone after the Audi on his tail in a bike lane started pushing up against his back tire on Wednesday evening. He put the video on his Facebook page the following morning, and by late Thursday it had become the talk of the town. Santillán said he is convinced that his video going viral helped end his 10-hour-long wait at the city prosecutor's office where he went to report the aggression.
"I thought he was the son of a politician or some businessmen," Santillán said in a phone interview. "I kept recording, it helps to expose backroom influence and tackle impunity."
The video was soon given the Twitter hashtag #LordAudi. Several users identified the aggressor as Rafael Márquez Gasperín, the son of a telecommunications businessman. As of Friday he has not publicly commented on the allegations.
Video via Facebook
Hashtags headed by the words "Lord" or "Lady" have become common in Mexico in recent years to accompany videos aimed at shaming the rich and powerful. There has been a particularly intense recent spate of these videos involving the drivers of expensive cars.
LordRollsRoyce became famous in May thanks to images filmed by a passer showing him hitting and pointing a gun at a man who had cut him off on a main avenue in the State of Mexico.
The victim was later identified as Jorge Vera, an off duty federal police officer. Lord Rolls Royce turned out to be a 42-year-old businessman called Emir Garduño who was travelling in his Phantom with an entourage of eight bodyguards distributed between three additional vehicles and two motorcycles.
Garduño is now in jail, though not because of the aggression against the officer which shot him to fame. Instead he is facing fraud and money laundering charges involving his construction firm and alleged irregular contracts signed with the state's government.
LordFerrari hit the headlines in April when two of his bodyguards were filmed beating up another driver who had overtaken his Ferrari 458 on a Mexico City street. He turned out to be another businessman named Alberto Sentíes from the neighboring state of Morelos.
The case continued to make waves after one of the bodyguards, who was facing prosecution for assault, was found dead in a cheap hotel room with a suicide letter in which he accused Sentíes, his boss, of ordering the beating, and ruining his life. Lord Ferrari, who was already being investigated for tax fraud, is now also facing charges for the incident.
Even public officials have turned to using social media to back their efforts to rein in elite assumptions that they can do anything with their vehicles.
Last February Arne aus den Ruthen, an official from one of Mexico City's wealthiest boroughs, used Periscope to livestream bodyguards assaulting him after he told them to move their cars off a sidewalk. At one points Raúl Libien, a media businessman from the State of Mexico, shouts "go fuck yourself" at the official through the phone of one of his bodyguards. This led to his hashtag #LordMeLaPelas
Santillán, the cyclist from this week's video who is also an activist, is convinced that the strategy of exposing abuse via social media will, slowly, lead to a change in civic culture by demonstrating that even the powerful can no longer assume they are above the law.
"The idea of the video is not to shame a person or exhibit them," said Santillan. "It's a way of pressuring the authorities."
Follow Alan Hernandez on Twitter: @alanpasten