Behind Narcos: The voices of the Colombian Drug Trade

As Narcos Mexico was released only a couple of weeks ago, I realized that there are so many important stories behind these shows that they fail to accurately depict. The original seasons of Narcos were set in Colombia and dealt with the Medellin and Cali Cartels and Pablo Escobar. As a Colombian, I saw how differently people received this show. Internationally, people were binge-watching it and enjoying the story of drug trafficking, whereas in many parts of Colombia people seemed to feel as if one of the most terrorizing parts of their history had been romanticized and glorified. For months after the release of the second season, I saw two very different responses to the show: the ones that dressed up as Pablo Escobar and posted pictures on Instagram with the caption “plata o plomo” and the ones that wrote paragraphs on social media criticizing how the show romanticized violence and Pablo Escobar. 

Today I realize that what is important when talking about this show is knowing that not only does it just show one part of the story, but there are so many more things we need to learn about before being able to discuss this terrifying chapter of Colombian history which consequences are still being dealt with today.

If you were an avid Narcos fan or if you are just a person that is interested in learning more about Colombia and the issues we deal with today, I recommend that you watch these two short documentaries: Colombia’s Hidden Cocaine Route: El Naya and Voces del Cocal: Mujeres Que Construyen Territorio. These stories put into perspective the long-lasting effects of the drug trade in Colombia and most importantly give voices to all those people that are still affected by the increase in cocaine demand internationally. More than 90% of the cocaine found in the United States is from Colombian origin so the United States like many other countries also hold responsibility in the growing consumption and production of cocaine. 

Here is Colombia's Hidden Cocaine Route: El Naya 

Here you can watch Voces del Cocal: Mujeres Que Construyen Territorio

It is hard to make a change but I believe that if we think critically of the shows we are watching, of the media we are consuming we will be able to educate ourselves and others about the issues that affect so many people. I want people to understand the traumatic history of my country and while Narcos is a good start, people need to learn to look further and understand the bigger picture before they decide to glorify Pablo Escobar or give Colombians the title of drug dealers or "narcos". Colombia is an incredible country filled with people like those in the documentaries that have endured through the worst and still live life with a positive attitude. Let their voices be heard and let’s give more people the means to tell their stories.