|Fernando Botero painting of Pablo Escobar shot down on a Medellin rooftop. Today, Escobar tours take visitors to the site.|
|The DAS building in Bogotá, |
car bombed by Escobar in 1989.
Tourists visit Escobar's tomb, the site where he was shot dead on a Medellin rooftop and even meet his brother Roberto, who participated in the drug cartel, went to prison and now defend's his brother Pablo's legacy. Colombian authorities reportedly don't like the Escobar tourism, fearing that it will damage the country's image.
But Escobar is perhaps the most famous (or infamous) Colombian, making him a legitimate object of interest. But he should be portrayed as the terror he was, not the Robin Hood he pretended to be. Escobar did play Santa for children at Christmas, build neighborhoods for the poor of Medellin and provide jobs - but all of that was paid for by the sales of massive amounts of cocaine which ruined the lives of mostly poor people in the cities of the United States and Europe. And Escobar protected his drug empire with assassinations, car bombings and general terror here in Colombia.
|Entrance to Hacienda Napoles, |
Escobar's playland outside of Medelli.
People from Medellin have described to me the fear they lived in during the Escobar era, when any car could contain a bomb and one could get caught in cartel crossfire on any street.
|Escobar as a tourist himself, |
in front of the White House
in Washington D.C.
|Botero painting of a car bomb exploding.|
But, like the drug trade itself, Escobar tourism is inevitable. As long as the fascination with him exists, as it always will, someone will fill the demand. And, like the drug trade itself, Escobar tourism should be legal, tax-paying and perhaps regulated.
|While others suffered: Escobar |
with one of his many women.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours