A picture of a poor Colombian student -- his stony stare stamped across a T-shirt asking “What’s your future looking like?” But the future of this young school boy is no mystery. He would grow up to be one of the most notorious criminals of all time: Pablo Escobar.
The Colombian drug lord’s images are featured in his son’s newest clothing line Escobar-Henao, which has gained popularity in countries like Mexico, Spain, and Austria according to Mamiverse.com. The new fashion line by Sebastian Marroquín (born Juan Manuel Escobar Henao) also features his father’s student ID card, driver’s license, and banks account ledgers. The line has produced over 10,000 t-shirts, priced to sell between 65 and 95 dollars. (See pictures of the clothing line above)
The elder Escobar was known as the leader of Colombia’s infamous Cartel de Medellín, which terrorized the country for over two decades until the kingpin was killed by Colombian soldiers in 1993. His drug- and violence-fueled reign resulted in an estimated 9 billion dollar fortune and the death of more than 4,000 individuals -- including magistrates, politicians, journalists, and civilians.
Marroquín, who legally changed his name after his father’s death, told the Associated Press that through the clothing line he hoped to turn a dark family history into an opportunity for reflection and peace.
“We're not trying to make an apology for drug trafficking, to glamorize it in the way that the media does," Marroquín, 39, told Reuters.
In 1994, the drug lord’s son and widow, Maria Valeria Henao, fled to Argentina’s capital, where the family kept out of the public eye until 2009, when Marroquín participated in the documentary “Sins Of My Father.” In it Marroquín describes what it was like being Escobar’s son during his reign of terror as well as apologizes to the son of his father’s most prominent victim, presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán.
Despite its popularity Marroquín told the Associated Press the clothing line would not be sold in Colombia though the factory is based in his birth city of Medellín to help create jobs and strengthen the economy, Mamiverse reported.
“We don’t wish to make money off of the grief of any Colombian,” Marroquín told the Associated Press.
But this isn’t the first time Pablo Escobar’s memory has resurged commercially. In 2007, his estate, Hacienda Nápoles, was opened to the public as a museum and theme park with the intention of “paying homage to his victims,” Oberdan Martinez, the administrator of the tourist attraction, told the Global Post. (Click to view pictures of the estate).
Earlier this year the Colombian TV network Canal Caracol also premiered the telenovela “Pablo Escobar, el Patron del Mal” (“ Pablo Escobar, The Boss of Evil”). The show, currently running in the U.S. on Spanish-language channel Telemundo, ran for 63-episodes and narrated the rise and fall of the cartel drug lord from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Its popularity eventually prompted the circulation of a 16-page sticker book titled after the series in Escobar’s hometown of Medellín.