Wiz Khalifa and Pablo Escobar: a Colombian controversy
The American rapper Wiz Khalifa received a tongue-lashing from the mayor of Medellin, Colombia on Monday for visiting the grave of the city’s most infamous son, the drug lord Pablo Escobar.
The “See You Again” artist left flowers and a joint at Escobar’s tomb in Medellin on Friday, publishing photos of the homage on Instagram — and drawing a firestorm of criticism in Colombia.
“Instead of bringing flowers to Pablo Escobar’s tomb, this guy should have brought flowers to the graves of all the victims killed by drug trafficking, like any normal person would have done,” Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Colombia’s Blu Radio.
“Who goes to Germany, for example, and talks about the whole Hitler period?… You’d go straight to jail.”
Khalifa gave a concert in Medellin on Friday with Puerto Rican rapper Tego Calderon.
Gutierrez blamed concert organizers for failing to stop the star from making what he called an affront to the victims of the drug violence unleashed by Escobar’s Medellin Cartel in the 1980s and 1990s.
Escobar ran a massive cocaine-trafficking operation out of Medellin, Colombia’s second city.
Built on corruption, murder and sheer ruthlessness, his empire made him the world’s seventh-richest man, until he was killed in a rooftop shootout with police in Medellin in 1993.
Today, his grave at Medellin’s Itagui cemetery draws tourists from around the world.
Gutierrez condemned the fascination with Escobar, as well as the string of movies and TV shows about the late kingpin, such as the recent Netflix series “Narcos.”
“The way we’re seen around the world today is due to all these series,” he said.