Student Thoughts: ‘Narcos’ not representative of Colombia

Valentina Del Pino / Contributing Writer

It only takes one step out of Colombia to hear the vulgar jokes about cocaine and the assumptions of being related to Pablo Escobar.

At the beginning, you’d think this is all from a place of ignorance.  Every Colombian that leaves the country looking for new opportunities will often encounter these situations on a daily basis.

Some people are surprised when you tell them you have never tried cocaine. The world has this idea that once you land in Colombia, people will sell you cocaine as soon as you exit the airplane – like the drug is a local commodity similar to arepas or empanadas. After a while you learn to not take it personally; you pretend to laugh and then try to educate people.
Netflix didn’t keep any of this in mind, or maybe it did. After all, cocaine and Narcos have always attracted the attention of the American public, so why not make a profit off of a country that is finally coming to an agreement of peace.

Since the ‘60s, narco trafficking has had a direct influence on the politics, society and economy in Colombia. There has been a never-ending war between the cartels, the government, paramilitary groups and the FARC.

The FARC just signed a peace treaty with the Colombian government a month ago. Yes, my country has been dealing with a civil war since the 1960s against the guerrilla group and is just know negotiating peace.

Netflix briefly skims through the time of terror in Bogotá, when buildings were getting bombarded left and right, but the program fails to represent the uglier things that Pablo did in order to force politicians and the president to make them accept his offer.

The Medellin Cartel was responsible for unspeakable crimes against the citizens of Colombia, not just government officials. Escobar was responsible for over-running the Palace of Justice and displacing thousands of innocent people. This man has affected millions and millions of families, both directly and indirectly.  Massacres, kidnappings, terrorism; these were the tools of his craft.

The government had no way of stopping him and had to resort to desperate measures. In 1992, the mayor of Bogotá decided to establish a curfew in the city; after 7 p.m. nobody was allowed to leave their homes in order to keep families and people safe.

The series is not only unrealistic, but it also leaves out a lot of important aspects of my country. Colombia is shown as a small village where drugs dealers do as they please and the government is basically a puppet.

It is also guilty of portraying women as wanting to get ahead in life through sex, drugs and narcos. After its Netflix premier, “Relationship goals: Escobar’s marriage” was trending on social media. In one way or another the series shows every single Colombian as corrupt or dishonest all while glorifying narco traffickers.  

To add insult to injury, a Brazilian actor was cast to portray Pablo Escobar; his accent just doesn’t meet the mark and any Colombian can tell. The portrayal of Escobar at times makes the viewer think that the man actually had a conscience, something that anyone who lived through his reign of terror can say did not exist.

The worst part is that there are a few recognized Colombian actors in this series. Many Colombians of my generation grew up watching  Juan Pablo Raba, Laura Perico, Juan Sebastian Calero and Carolina Gaitán on TV.

Knowing that they  agreed to participate in such a senseless plot that perpetuates such a negative stigma about the Colombian people and ignores our history is not only a disappointment but an insult to every Colombian that works hard to change the views the world has of our homeland.

[Image from Flickr]

1 Comment on "Student Thoughts: ‘Narcos’ not representative of Colombia"

  1. Every country in the world has had in their history passages of brilliance,heroic moments and acts of barbarism and shame.- Colombia is not an exception,-It is well known that certain passages of history,remain fresh in the minds of people.,- In Rome, we had a complete picture of every aspect of human cruelty,brilliance and misery..,so was the history of France,Spain, England, Germany etc. Not long ago ..,the germans were the bad guys.,.,today are the muslims,as a whole.,tomorrow .,who knows.- In America,the history of U S A ,is full with these examples.,from the civil war,to the prohibition time.,.,from Alcapone to the times of the Manson family.- So..,like Jesus said,,,,",,.-..-,.,who is the first to throw the first stone..,and then…, he who has ears.. listen…. and he who has eyes .., open them.., the truth ..,well ..,we are humans.-

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