Amid controversy that the new Pablo Escobar telenovela series, “The Boss of Evil,” glamorizes the life of Colombia’s notorious druglord, the son of perhaps his best-known victim has come out in support of the show.
Senator Juan Manuel Galan posted a long essay on his facebook wall defending Caracol TV’s decision to retread this violent period of Colombia’s history. In 1989 Escobar ordered the assassination of Galan’s father, Carlos Luis Galan, a liberal politician and famed orator, during his second run for president of Colombia. Galan had publicly denounced Escobar on several occasions.
Colombian music, sports, movies, semantics and aesthetics have long sympathized with narcotraffickers, Galan wrote hours before the show’s Monday night premiere.
“There are some who say it’s better to forget, or that this show is just another apology. Some think that publicizing this history hurts our country, that remembering hurts our ability to overcome it and hurts our global image,” he said in his facebook post. “I think that forgetting helps only the criminals and their accomplices.”
Caracol TV, the network behind “The Boss of Evil,” has promoted the show’s strong focus on the perspective of Escobar’s victims. Two of the soap opera’s writers and producers are also the children of his victims.
The show’s producer and writer Juana Uribe told La Semana newspaper, that past drug-trafficking dramatizations of the drug boss’s opponents have been mostly stock characters–strictly “The Journalist” or “The Minister.”
“They were never very complex,” she said.
Escobar henchmen held Uribe’s mother hostage for seven months. The father of her co-author Camilo Cano, was, like Galan’s father, executed for his public stance against Escobar. “We want this to spark debate about the past,” Cano said in the same interview. “Not just relive it to relive it.”
It is unclear from his facebook essay whether Galan had already viewed an advance copy of the series or if he would be tuning in at 9 pm with everyone else, but he seemed to have high hopes for the show’s impact. “Above all, we want the next generation to understand what they see tonight not just as a period of history but as an evolving process–a process in which they can be protagonists.”