Colombian kids collecting Pablo Escobar sticker book (VIDEO)
I remember my obsession with the Spice Girls and boy bands growing up; I used to be first in line to buy their fan memorabilia. But after learning that kids in Medellin, Colombia are honoring their infamous hometown drug cartel boss, Pablo Escobar, I find that it's a bit too dark for my taste. Reports say that children in the poorer parts of Medellin are purchasing a sticker book titled Pablo Escobar, el Patron del Mal (Pablo Escobar, Boss of Evil), which includes baseball-card style pictures from the life of the Colombian drug kingpin. Uh, really? How is this even a trend?
Being half Colombian, I'm pretty much always the butt of drug jokes among my friends, but it's never something I would want to glorify if it was true. I'm aware that the telenovela based off Escobar's life, El Patrón del Mal is popular among many Latino viewers, but it's aimed at adults who know that it's meant for entertainment purposes. The fact that the show has influenced the creation of these books and that poor children are the ones buying them from their local grocery stores is unnerving. For $2,000 pesos (the equivalent of about $1.15) you can get one of the booklets and $300 pesos (about 15 cents) buys you a packet of stickers
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What makes this new craze easy for children to eat up is that they're rewarded with Mp3 players, iPods, soccer balls, and more. I understand the interest in learning about the history of the life of Pablo Escobar, but teaching about it and glorifying it are two different things. I would collect memorabilia of my favorite music idols when I was younger because I looked up to them (some weren't really the best 'idols', but hey, I turned out just fine!). But if my mother saw me worshiping a drug lord, she would have probably blown her lid.
Rightfully so, local authorities are a bit worried that this sudden Pablo Escobar fanaticism will cause acts of violence and influence corruption. Medellin's top security official decided that the sticker books would be seized and destroyed, but changed his mind after realizing the authorities did not have enough evidence to support that the memorabilia was illegal.
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Illegal or not, it's still strange that these booklets are being aimed at children who don't know any better and can be easily influenced. I really hope this isn't someone's sick way of brainwashing kids into wanting to become the next drug kingpin...
How do you feel about children being exposed to Pablo Escobar sticker books?
Images via Euronews