Pablo Escobar: Cuba’s Model

Alfredo Fernandez

From the series Pablo Escobar, El Patron del Mal

HAVANA TIMES — Today, thanks to the phenomenon of pirated CDs, the television series “Pablo Escobar: The Model of Evil,” has become the visual phenomenon that is shaking up the island.

Because of its controversy, the series has also become a milestone in Colombia today, and it is also becoming one in Cuba. Nothing like this has ever happened in the Cuban underground.

In my opinion this success comes from the overlaying of its twofold character. This is the first series since the triumph of the revolution that Cubans are looking at which hasn’t first passed through the filter of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television, where psychologists, sociologists, journalists and especially ideological censors decide what Cubans can or can’t see on their television sets.

In addition, in my way of looking at things, what’s most important is that the country has returned to that old and difficult sotto voce debate concerning what degree Pablo Escobar had an influence on the Cuban government. At least in this telenovela it becomes evident that it went beyond General Ochoa and his accomplices.

This is why many people in Cuba today are not asking why there hasn’t yet been a crusade against the sellers of the CD.

One woman in Havana, who swears not to have missed a single episode of the series, was shocked at how easy it was for one of Pablo Escobar’s lieutenants to smuggle drugs into Cuba before these were then transferred to the United States.

Later she was heard saying, between sarcasm and wonder, “Now that I’m seeing the series on Pablo Escobar, I’m more convinced that Ochoa was a guinea pig.”

Sellers of pirated CDs, after having received government approval for this unique business a little over a year ago, have now not only avoided government censorship but are now also displacing our stiflingly boring national television, sending it to the back of the line in terms of entertainment in Cuba.

Today, Cubans can purchase this story of the life of a poor man without scruples, someone who wanted everything in the midst a corrupt society with weak institutions, such as in Colombia.

Tomorrow, perhaps it will be with the World Series on sale, or another no less interesting serial.

What’s certain is the fabulous acting of Andres Parra, portraying Pablo Escobar in the serial. Today we find it more seductive than any dramatization on Cuban television, which is perhaps at its worst moment.

So, the head of the so-called nacro-culture, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, is now in Cuba, whether you like it or not and no matter what you think of him, when many Cuban families sit down to watch the CD.

2 thoughts on “Pablo Escobar: Cuba’s Model

  • Reading ‘Moses’ reminds me of ‘supermarket tabloids’ – named for their prominent placement along the checkout lines of supermarkets in the US and Canada, notorious for over-the-top sensationalizing of stories, containing dubious facts and claims – “two-headed boy found in cave in Nevada.”

    ‘Moses’ writes, “Granted, everyone realizes it is only fiction but…” “This story has long been a part of the urban legends in Cuba involving Fidel in the drug trade”. Definition of an urban legend: “An entertaining story or piece of information of uncertain origin that is circulated as though true.”

    The “direct and indirect criminality laid at the foot of the Castros” is a FICTION in the film – an ‘urban legend’, but ‘Moses’ phrases it to make it seem it’s fact. That’s what supermarket tabloids do.

    You can wiki ‘Arnaldo Ocho’ to find out the facts in the case, what are not an urban legend. I found the Cuban component of the story quite poignant – the fall of a hero of the Revolution from grace, resulting in his execution. Someday it may be told in less sensational terms.

  • I am genuinely surprised that this series has been allowed to flourish throughout the island but especially in Havana in view of the direct and indirect criminallity laid at the foot of the Castros. Granted, everyone realizes it is only fiction but this story has long been a part of the urban legends in Cuba involving Fidel in the drug trade. The typical paranoia and lack of a sense of humor has always served to prohibit these sorts of fictions. There truly is hope yet that Cuban society will learn the truth.

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