Pablo Escobar was a notorious Colombian drug lord who led the Medellín cartel in the '70s and '80s, and was referred to as ”³The King of Cocaine.”³ At one point, he controlled 80% of the cocaine that entered the U.S, and his net worth was $30 billion.
One of Escobar's enforcers was John Jairo Velásquez, who ”³killed around 300 people, (and) ordered the murder of thousands more”³ for the cartel, according to The Guardian. Despite killing that many people, he only spent just over 20 years in jail for assassinating a presidential candidate.
His videos are a mixture of him seeking forgiveness and telling stories of working with Escobar. The mix has made his channel a huge success, with nearly 10 million views and over 100,000 subscribers. He explained in an interview that, ”³It's not about monetizing my life story but about telling the stories, the things that happened.”³
While he tries to seek forgiveness, many relatives of his victims are not too pleased with Velásquez's new internet fame. Gonzálo Rojas, the son of one of his victims, said, ”³It's a slap in the face for us for him to present himself now as an expert, a consultant, when he hasn't shown any remorse for what he did to us.”³
While it may appear that Velásquez is glorifying his former lifestyle, he insists that's not the case. In one video, he stated, ”³Before I start I want to say that everything Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria did was bad. It's important that new generations don't get fixated on the figure of Pablo Escobar and even less on mine. We should not be a model for anyone. We are bandits.”³
But even while condemning Escobar's behavior, Velásquez praises him as well, stating in one video, ”³For me, Escobar was a terrorist, a drug dealer, a kidnapper ”” but he was also my friend; he treated me with kindness and respect.”³ It's statements like this, which seem to walk the line between glorification and regret, that have made him one of YouTube's most unlikely stars.