The Colombian embassy and community in Singapore are upset with the name and theme of Escobar in China Square Central. Photo: Escobar Singapore / Facebook
SINGAPORE — A bar named after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar found itself in a tricky situation after the Embassy of Colombia here and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) took issue with its theme.
The embassy confirmed on Tuesday (Feb 6) that it had sent an official note to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce the three-week-old nightspot named Escobar in China Square Central. The venue features themes related to the late Colombian, who led the Medellin drug cartel known for its cocaine trade.
A CNB spokesperson said that the manner in which Pablo Escobar’s name and image are being used to promote the bar is highly objectionable and runs counter to Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach towards drugs and to the Government’s efforts in preventive drug education.
“The glamorisation of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible and insensitive,” the CNB spokesperson told TODAY.
Pablo Escobar became one of the richest man in the world in the 1980s by dealing in cocaine. He was also behind a violent campaign that bombed, kidnapped and killed thousands of people, including politicians, judges and journalists who stood in his way. In 1993, he was shot and killed by the Colombian police.
While the embassy declined to disclose its official note to the bar, a report on Yahoo Singapore’s site quoted the embassy saying in the note that the bar would confuse customers and justify criminal actions, and undermine the work that the successive governments have been endeavouring.
The embassy also took issue with the way the bar had modelled itself after the Netflix drama series Narcos, and asked the Singapore Government to give due attention to its concern and take necessary actions to reverse this harmful image.