Pablo Escobar and Colombian Narcoculture

Pablo Escobar and Colombian Narcoculture

Aldona Bialowas Pobutsky

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781683401513

Publisher: University Press of Florida


In the years since his death in 1993, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has become a globally recognized symbol of crime, wealth, power, and masculinity. In this long-overdue exploration of Escobar’s impact on popular culture, Aldona Bialowas Pobutsky shows how his legacy inspired the development of narcoculture—television, music, literature, and fashion representing the drug-trafficking lifestyle—in Colombia and around the world. Pobutsky looks at the ways the “Escobar brand” surfaces in bars, restaurants, and clothing lines; in Colombia’s tourist industry; and in telenovelas, documentaries, and narco memoirs about his life, which in turn have generated popular interest in other drug traffickers such as Griselda Blanco and Miami’s “cocaine cowboys.” Pobutsky illustrates how the Colombian state strives to erase his memory while Escobar’s notoriety only continues to increase in popular culture through the transnational media. She argues that the image of Escobar is inextricably linked to Colombia’s internal tensions in the areas of cocaine politics, gender relations, class divisions, and political corruption and that his “brand” perpetuates the country’s reputation as a center of organized crime, to the dismay of the Colombian people. This book is a fascinating study of how the world perceives Colombia and how Colombia’s citizens understand their nation’s past and present.