Colombia Calls on Madrid to Remove Enormous 'Narcos' Poster

Narcos Poster in Madrid - H - 2016
Credit: Ramon Gonzalez David

Netflix hung the advert in the Spanish capital's most emblematic squre on the 23rd anniversary of Pablo Escobar's death.

Colombian President and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos added his voice to the growing chorus of voices demanding Netflix remove the building-size billboard for Narcos in Madrid’s iconic Sol Square.

The advert was hung in the emblematic square on Dec. 2, timed to coincide with the 23rd anniversary of the death of the Colombian drug lord.

“The series is very good, but we Colombians lived the drama of Pablo Escobar and that suffering still hurts,” Santos said in a radio interview this week. “Escobar should not be held up as a hero.”

Santos, currently on a European tour after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in forging a peace deal with the guerilla group FARC, said honoring Escobar goes “against everything that is right.”

The enormous sign features actor Wagner Moura, who plays Escobar in the Netflix series, with the phrase “Oh, Blanca Navidad” (Oh, White Christmas), which has been decried as a play off slang for cocaine.

The sign stirred protests among Madrid-based Colombians as soon as it was hung, but on Tuesday, the government of Colombia joined the protests, with the country’s Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin asking Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena to take down the poster.

“The efforts that Colombia made to turn the page on the Medellin cartel, on drugs, is something that we are over now, and the vision that the world has of Colombia now is different, but preconceived notions persist, and if we add this type of advertising, then great damage is done to our country,” Holguin said.

On Thursday, the Madrid city hall spokesperson said the city would not take down the advert since it fulfills local ordinances.

Netflix has made no comment as to whether it will remove the sign.