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Can a drug cartel win hearts with YouTube?

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YouTube Copyright Trademark (STOCK)
YouTube Copyright Trademark (STOCK)

Even drug cartels need to manage their image. There's a surprisingly long history of drug lords helping out in their communities, and now one cartel is taking to YouTube to spread word of its philanthropy. According to Newsweek, Mexico's Gulf Cartel — one of the largest in the country — was featured in a YouTube video last week showing its members handing out cakes to schools, hospitals, and impoverished neighborhoods. And that's only the latest video. Just after Christmas, a separate video reportedly showed members of the cartel distributing free toys and dinners as members of the community cheered them on.

This type of community work is apparently becoming a modern necessity. According to Newsweek, cartels' images have been badly hurt by Mexico's continued drug crackdown — not to mention their own brutal responses to it — and they're now trying to win over the communities where they operate in part to avoid being turned over to police. Newsweek has more on the Gulf Cartel's unlikely outreach, and how even major drug lords like Pablo Escobar have at times been known to give back to their communities.