Colombia protests Escobar restaurant in Singapore

Colombia has lodged an angry complaint with Singapore over a restaurant in the city-state named after drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

In a three-page letter to the foreign ministry dated February 2, the Colombian embassy expressed "serious concern", saying the eatery was paying tribute to the "worst criminal in the history of Colombia".

"The Embassy of the Republic of Colombia wants to share some information to refresh the horror that this criminal caused in Colombia... not to mention the drug addiction he promoted and the war he declared," the letter said.

"If the idea of the owner was to make his or her business look profitable and trendy, it is inducing... confusion, because Colombia is not what 'Narcos-Netflix' portrays anymore."

It said Colombia cannot "tolerate any more tributes to that criminal."

When AFP visited the restaurant in the heart of Singapore's business district Tuesday evening, patrons occupied about a dozen tables having post-work drinks, seemingly unaware of the controversy.

Several bouquets stood on stands by the door next to a decal of Escobar's face, congratulating the eatery on its recent opening.

Owner Stan Sri Ganesh told AFP that he decided on the name "simply because it had the word 'bar' in it".

Several users have posted abusive comments and sent threatening messages to the gastropub's Facebook page, he said.

"It was meant to be a pun... we never expected the abuse."

More than two decades after police shot Escobar dead in his stronghold of Medellin, the cocaine cartel leader was immortalised in the hit Netflix series "Narcos".

Escobar is still deeply popular in Medellin, where he is regarded as a saint and anti-hero -- souvenirs with his face on them do brisk business.

Colombia has recently come out of a decades-long civil conflict fuelled by drug trafficking that claimed thousands of lives.

The United Nations ranks Colombia as the world's biggest producer of coca, the raw material for the drug.

Affluent Singapore takes a strong stance against drugs, with traffickers punishable by death.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel