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Al Capone and YouTube

Imagine if gangster Al Capone had an outlet like YouTube. Would he have tried to convince the good people of Chicago of the righteousness of his Prohibition-busting bootlegging?

In Mexico, gangster leaders do have YouTube and they use it. In the video above, Servando Gomez, the leader of the Knights Templar, a crime and narcotics cartel in Michoacan state, rambles on for nearly 14 minutes in Spanish. Known commonly as La Tuta, the alleged drug lord talks about a host of subjects, including his hatred for rival groups Los Zetas and the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.

He also lashes out at self-defense groups that are forming along the Pacific coastal states, and says his group is willing to dialogue with the government -- but not to give up its weapons.

One of the most noteworthy things about the video is that La Tuta has no fear of showing his face. In Michoacan, the Knights Templar are the uber-bosses. Politicians are mostly under their thumb. I bet La Tuta can drive through the larger towns and cities of Michoacan with little fear of harassment or arrest. For those who believe Mexico is getting a grip on crime, do you think Al Capone could wander the streets of Chicago openly? 

Another noteworthy aspect of the video -- it has nearly a million hits and it's only been out for a few days. Clearly, some Mexicans are interested in what he has to say.

Item: I had difficulty viewing this video on Safari. If you, too, have trouble viewing it, try changing browsers.


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This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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