A new media ritual has become a daily routine in Mexico: public confessions aired on television from edited video clips prepared by the police. The Washington Post says the sensational videotaped confessions have become the latest tactic employed by media-savvy officials trying to convince a skeptical electorate that authorities are not just arresting criminals, but criminals guilty of the crimes they are accused of.
Fishy admissions of guilt, coerced and otherwise, have been a fixture of Mexico's troubled judicial system for decades, but the videotaped confessions take the ritual to a new level. In recent months, El Chango admitted he was the leader of La Familia cartel; El Pajaro said on camera he was responsible for a deadly grenade attack; El Mamito agreed he was the owner of five “narco tanks.” “This is for the authorities, who want to show they are working hard and defeating the criminals. It is a publicity stunt,” said lawyer Raul Cardenas Rioseco.