A Singapore restaurant named after Pablo Escobar is changing its logo after objections and threats

Escobar at China Square Central is changing its logo after criticism over its name.
Lianhe Zaobao

A new bistro restaurant and bar in Singapore is changing its logo, after both the Colombian embassy and Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) voiced concern over its name.

The owner of Escobar at China Square Central had reportedly chosen to name his restaurant after drug kingpin Pablo Escabar simply because the name has the word “bar” in it.

Apart from its name, the restaurant’s logo also features a silhouette of the late Pablo Escobar’s face.

While it is not the only establishment in the world bearing the controversial name, the Colombian embassy lodged a complaint with Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) saying it had “serious concern” over the restaurant’s tribute to the “worst criminal in the history of Colombia”, AFP reported.

The letter added that Colombia could not “tolerate any more tributes to that criminal”.

Although Escobar’s owner meant for the restaurant’s name to be a play on words, some people are not seeing the fun in it. AFP reported that the restaurant has received threatening messages on its Facebook page because of its name.

Even an update announcing a logo change that was posted on Wednesday (Feb 7) did not seem to appease those who had been riled up.

In its post, Escobar said that it would not be changing its name but would instead be changing its logo in response to public feedback.

Apologising to “any community or individual who was offended”, the restaurant added that “it was never our intention to glorify or condone the actions of Pablo Escobar”.

Some Facebook users agreed with the restaurant’s decision to keep its name. One user identified as Anna Christian Pinkerton said:”Seriously. Who cares if is [sic] Escobar or some other sensitive name? It’s Singapore. We are not directly affected by Escobar and all his antics. I see no harm, no wrong and there’s no need to change anything.”

But many others did not see the situation the same way, pointing out that many people died and suffered tragic ends due to Pablo Escobar’s crimes.

Citing a CNB spokesperson, Today reported that the bureau said that the “glamorisation” of a drug lord was “irresponsible and insensitive”.

Who is Pablo Escobar?

Pablo Escobar was a narcoterrorist who ran a cartel supplying an estimated 80 per cent of cocaine smuggled into the United States at one point.

During its peak, Escobar’s cartel brought in $26 billion of drug money a year, and by the early 90s, Columbia became known as the world’s murder capital due to high number of violent deaths linked to gang fights and drug wars.

Read also: 10 facts reveal the absurdity of Pablo Escobar’s wealth

A hitman hired by the King of Cocaine had admitted to ordering the killings of 3,000 people for his employer.

One of the highest-profile crimes linked to Escobar was the bombing of an Avianca Airlines Flight in 1989, which killed 110 people. It was reported that Escobar had planned the attack as he wanted to kill  presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo, who did not end up being on that flight and went on to become Columbia’s president the next year.

On December 2, 1993, the wealthiest drug kingpin the world has ever seen was assassinated while attempting to flee from a hideout in Medellín, Colombia.

The portrayal of Escobar on hit Netflix series Narcos has been criticised by some, including Escobar’s own son, for glamourising the drug lord’s crimes.

Juan Pablo Escobar, also known as Sebastian Marroquin, reportedly said that the series “turned my father into a hero and given young people the idea that it’s cool to be a drug trafficker”.

Read also: Pablo Escobar’s death cleared the way for a much more sinister kind of criminal in Colombia