Most of you have probably seen or heard about the Netflix hit show Narcos that tells a story of the Colombian town Medellin and Pablo Escobar 30 years ago. It awakens a lot of feelings and opinions among Colombians; in good and bad ways. It is supposed to be a fiction series instead of a documentary but real names, real story and real footage put it really close to reality. That’s why Colombians share mixed feelings; many of them feel it’s not reflecting all of the reality, and has a negative effect to Colombia’s image which has a direct consequence in tourism.
One of the most thought-provoking things in Narcos are the people in it. The head actor playing Escobar’s part is actually a Brazilian actor. While for foreigners the Spanish sounds like a regular Latin American Spanish, Colombians can clearly identify the strong Brazilian accent which makes it more difficult to adjust with reality. They feel it’s absurd that actors from other countries are representing local people who had a strong impact in their lives. How people who haven’t lived it can know the actual reality? It seems to be the question in every Colombian’s mind. Especially, when the story is told through beautiful strangers who play the history but don’t know it.
In reality, Escobar was not the only factor with an effect on Colombia’s complicated situation with drug-trafficking and corrupted government. Left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups and other cartels like the Cali Cartel were involved as well, but are not strongly included in the story of Narcos. “As we’re constantly reminded, the only problem is (Pablo’s) cocaine” writes Pablo Medina Uribe in his blog. Both left and right parties were involved in drug-trafficking as well, which made the conflict even more complicated. While Pablo Escobar was fighting his war, so were the other parties (who are still fighting). That’s why Colombians think Narcos is not the right show to present Colombian history, because it is a very shrunken story without the whole picture. Colombians are afraid that viewers who don’t have much information about Colombia and its history might get an idea, that this was exactly what happened in Colombia –and what is still happening. Truth is the current situation is far away from the past. Colombians are afraid that the world-wide known serial killer will worsen the general image of Colombia affecting directly its tourism growth rate or attracting wrong kind of tourists (who are seeking cheap and easy drugs). At the same time they understand it’s a television industry with an aim to entertain its viewers with action and beautiful people, without insulting everyone.
The story in general is a very sensitive topic for Colombians. People used to live in a fear and could not go out of their houses, live in a constant worry for their families and could hear gunshots and explosions every day. Locals were living a very restricted life. Many of them have lost their family members during these bad times, which why they don’t want the history to be changed or told in a different way, because the topic is so close to them and a real part of their life. Narcos has spread worldwide and achieved high popularity, which why it is very interesting to hear people’s reactions and perspectives, especially locals. Not all of the Colombians feel this way though, you can find many people who enjoy the show for the same reason as the rest of the world.
The history of drug-trafficking and violence in Colombia is a hot topic all over the world and gets an extra attention through hit series like Narcos. Besides these negative things from the past it is important to move on; to think and talk about the positive things in Medellin and whole Colombia. Did you know, that Medellin was just named for the second year in a row the first and best city in South America to hold international events? In 2012 Medellin was also chosen as the most innovative city in the world, and today we are happy to witness the opening of a new local tram system, that will be free of charge for locals to use during the first month. And of course the amazing nature in Colombia; it has the second largest bio-diversity in the world with 58 471 different species. But the best of all; Colombians are officially one of the happiest people in the world!
Take a look at Pablo Medina Uribe’s blog post on Narcos.
What’s your opinion? Do you like Narcos?
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