Colombia’s embassy in Singapore has sent an official note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) condemning the Escobar bar in China Square Central that is named after notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, saying its theme “pays tribute to the worst criminal in the history of Colombia”.
In a letter dated 2 February, the embassy said that the Colombian community in Singapore “feels indignation towards this case” and appealed for the MFA to reach out to the owner to “reverse this harmful image” caused by the bar.
“A business like ‘Escobar’ bar in a country like Singapore contributes to confuse customers and to justify criminal actions, to categorise false Colombian ‘models’ and to undermine the work that the successive Governments have been endeavouring,” said the embassy.
Pablo Escobar, who died in 1993, was the head of the Medellin drug cartel and is widely considered as one of the most violent criminals in history. According to the embassy, Escobar built an “evil empire of drug smuggling and narcoterrorism”.
“In order to achieve what he wanted, he corrupted and murdered thousands of Colombians throughout more than 620 terrorist attacks, killing more than 400 innocent civilians, injuring more than 1,700,” the embassy said.
“He ordered the death of around 20,000 people in all possible violent ways. His sicarios (hitmen) kidnapped, tortured and killed more than 550 police officers, detonated hundreds of bombs, in schools, banks, shopping centres and many other public and governmental places where innocent people worked.” Escobar and his associates were also responsible for the bombing of an airline that caused the death of 111 passengers, the embassy added.
Escobar bar, which is located along Cross Street at China Square Central, had its grand opening last month with a theme based on the popular Netflix TV series “Narcos”, which was about the life of Escobar and the illegal drug trade in Colombia in the late 20th century.
The embassy also took issue with the way the bar modelled itself after the show.
“The Embassy of the Republic of Colombia wishes to express that if the idea of the owner was to make his or her business look profitable and trendy, it is inducing to a confusion, because Colombia is not what “Narcos-Netflix” portrays anymore,” the embassy said.
Medellin previously won the Lee Kuan Yew Prize for its efforts in transforming itself from “a notoriously violent city” to “a model of urban innovation”, the embassy pointed out.
As such, the embassy said it hoped the Singapore government would “give due attention to this concern and will transmit the owner of this eatery these complaints in order to take the necessary actions to reverse this harmful image.”
Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to the embassy, MFA and Escobar bar for comments.