Colombia hastily defined by drug lord, wrongfully defames country


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Pablo Escobar resided in Colombia for 44 years before he was shot to death.

Would you wear a shirt with a serial killer’s face on it?

I will never forget the day I was walking through the mall, and I saw a kiosk selling a t-shirt with Pablo Escobar’s face on it.

I was disgusted. Why would someone want this? We wear shirts of people we admire, bands we enjoy or comics we think are funny. Not of someone that killed thousands, abducted and tortured innocent people and directed a business that led to wars and destruction.

I asked the lady that was working the kiosk why she was selling this. She seemed confused by question and said “Well, a lot of people buy them.”

This is a direct result of television series such as “Narcos” and other series like it.

Somehow, T.V. shows, movies and documentaries about the “King of Coke” led to t-shirts, Twitter fan pages and Halloween costumes.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in how and why Pablo Escobar became an infamous drug-lord, but let’s get something straight: Pablo Escobar was a ruthless criminal.

In a span of five months, Pablo Escobar placed 85 bombs. He is responsible for the deaths of 550 policemen. During his time with the Medellin Cartel, countless members of government or press were assassinated and an estimated 15,000 people have died as a result of the war against drug cartels.

The shows get so caught up in the drama that they forget that this was the reality for the people of Colombia. That murder you watched for five minutes forever changed the life of a mother or father somewhere in Colombia. That shipment that made Pablo Escobar hundreds of thousands of dollars led to the death of an innocent person.

That’s the problem with these series– they glorify these criminals for the sake of viewer enjoyment.\

That is exactly what Pablo Escobar wanted– fame and glory and power. Twenty-six years after his death and he is still one of the most well-known figures in the world despite any efforts made by the Colombian people.

On Aug. 24, 2016, the Colombian government ratified a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that ended more than 50 years of conflict. Despite the controversy and division this caused within the country, this was a historical moment that people had been waiting for their entire lives. But was the world talking about this peace deal?

No. They were binge-watching season three of “Narcos” that premiered within the week after the deal was signed.

The beauty and culture of Colombia is commonly overshadowed by its history. And no matter what the Colombian people do the most common reaction we get to being from Colombia is a Pablo Escobar reference.

But Colombia is so much more.

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. They have produced famous singers such as Shakira and Maluma. But most of all, they have some of the kindest and most welcoming people who are just waiting to share their culture with you.