Museum of the Rich and Famous
Back in his heyday, ‘King of Cocaine’ Pablo Escobar was known around the world. Not only as one of the wealthiest criminals but the richest man in the world. He made the Forbes’ list of international billionaires for a staggering seven years in a row. In recent news, the drug lord has become somewhat of a media phenomenon. A range of books and tell-all television shows on the public figure being released. It seems everyone wants to know the hottest stories surrounding Don Pablo. Starting with his Monaco home.
There seems to be a newly-found interest in the narcoterrorist. Therefore, one would not be surprised to hear of the swarms of ‘Narcos’ fans flocking over to his previous home in Medellín. It’s common to find several people queuing to taking pictures besides the six-story concrete Monaco building. It has become a new tourist attraction for many.
A New Market for Pablo Escobar
It’s all about who you know in this world. It seems Escobar’s success has rubbed off on some notable people. Who recalls the hit men of Escobar? Jhon Jairo Velasquez, commonly known as ‘Popeye’ is one of the many figures who has profited off the recent success of his former colleague. This began through creating various DVDs and a YouTube channel named “Repentant Popeye.” It comes of no surprise to also learn that Popeye is one of the Medellín tour guides.
What do the people of this city, or paisas, say about the booming popularity of the most notorious name in Medellín? Only bad things, unfortunately. It caused a tremendous amount of upset for several natives to learn that the critical histories of their home (including the fifty victims of their armed conflicts) were being ignored. This was in favor of a Pablo Escobar, a supervillain who once roamed their streets. If you didn’t know the extent of Escobar’s crimes, it was reported that the man was responsible for some 4000 deaths. So, how is it possible that people have now started to idolize this figure?
Medellín writer, Juan Mosquera put it simply. “It was a mansion of horror. His family didn’t just live there; they killed and tortured people, and they planned the biggest blows toward the city.”
It’s taken the paisas years to shed their skin of the Escobar horrors, and still no success. Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez was reached for comment on the issue. Alongside the fact that Escobar has tarnished the reputation of his city, he believes the root of the problem is that we are glorifying a criminal. He leaves us with an important warning: “don’t underestimate the influence they have on younger generations.” He could be onto something there.
Finally Getting His Way
Many, many, many years of fighting later. The mayor may have just won the battle against Escobar. He announced in August 2018 that the Monaco site would be shut down. He provided the reasons in a recent interview for this decision. (“Why did I decide as the mayor to destroy the Monaco? To show that the city had been reborn, and that the land had triumphed over chaos.”)
So when will we start seeing some action? The structure has been confirmed to be shut down this year. It will be early this year to be precise, so there’s not long to go in the countdown. Gutiérrez has confirmed that the site will get transformed into either a park or a memorial to the victims of Colombia’s drug war.
Game Over for Monaco
Has justice finally been served to the people of Medellín? Hmm, yes and no. The destruction of the Pablo Escobar’s Monaco building is undoubtedly a step forward for the paisas. The spotlight leans back towards those innocent victims of the Colombian war. As for Escobar’s notoriety, it would take years for the public to stop mentioning his name. One step at a time…