Latin America & Caribbean

Pablo Escobar's brother asks to review Netflix's Narcos

This image released by Netflix shows Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar in the Netflix Original Series "Narcos." In a partnership with Univision, the Netflix series will air on the network. Image copyright AP
Image caption In the series Narcos, Pablo Escobar is played by Wagner Moura

Roberto Escobar, the brother of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has written to the video streaming company Netflix asking to review the second season of the series Narcos.

The series portrays the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, who was shot dead by police in 1993, and the Medellin drug cartel he lead.

Roberto Escobar said he wanted to determine the accuracy of the contents.

The second season is expected to focus on the drug lord's escape from prison.

Roberto Escobar registered for "successor-in-interest rights" to Pablo Escobar and the Escobar family name in California in 2015, meaning that he has assumed the rights, duties, obligations and assets of Pablo Escobar's business.

Pablo Escobar

Image caption Pablo Escobar is considered one of the most powerful drug lords of all time
  • Born in 1949 in Antioquia, Colombia, he became the leader of the powerful Medellin drugs cartel
  • During the cartel's heyday he was thought to be among the world's 10 richest people
  • Many of his properties had hidden stashes of cash and jewellery
  • His Medellin drugs cartel was accused of being behind up to 80% of all the cocaine shipped to the US
  • Killed on a Medellin roof-top during a shoot-out as he was trying to flee from the police on 2 December 1993

In his letter to Netflix, Roberto Escobar writes: "It is my wish that you do not release any Narcos television show or any other show or shows depicting me, my family or my brother Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, unless I am given the rightful opportunity to review this material."

He alleges that "in the first season or Narcos, there were mistakes, lies and discrepancies from the real story, the story that I was not only part of making, but that I survived from [sic]".

Roberto Escobar worked as his brother's accountant for years and in his letter he describes himself as "Pablo's closest ally".

He also warns Netflix not to release any merchandise "as we control all such rights".

The second season of Narcos is scheduled to be released in September.

Legal arguments

Image copyright AP
Image caption Pablo Escobar continues to be a divisive figure, revered by some and loathed by many
  • Roberto Escobar says he has registered successor-in-interest rights to his brother's business in California
  • That would mean he he has assumed the rights, duties, obligations and assets of Pablo Escobar's business in that state
  • Roberto Escobar cites California Civil Code 3344.1 to back up his claim
  • The code establishes that: "Any person who uses a deceased personality's name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods, or services, without prior consent from the person or persons specified in subdivision (c), shall be liable for any damages sustained by the person or persons injured as a result thereof."

Mr Escobar ends the letter, which was obtained by TMZ, by pointing out it is meant "as a friendly request for co-operation".

However his last sentence appears to have a slightly menacing undertone as it evokes the memory of the late Pablo Escobar, who ordered the killing of thousands of people.

"All we want to do is make sure that things are done right. My brother would not have liked season 1, maybe he will enjoy season 2 if you respond me [sic] and we solve this [sic] issue."

Image copyright AP
Image caption One of Pablo Escobar's hitman, known as alias Popeye, says he had 3,000 people killed on behalf of his boss

Netflix have not yet commented on the letter.

The first season of Narcos portrayed Pablo Escobar's rise to power as the head of the Medellin drugs cartel and the efforts by US anti-drug agents to hunt him down.

Two US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who took part in the hunt for Pablo Escobar acted as technical consultants on Narcos.

Pablo Escobar's son, who goes by the name of Sebastian Marroquin, also offered his services as a technical consultant but was turned down by the series' director.

Mr Marroquin, like Roberto Escobar, has slammed the first season for its "inaccuracies".

In particular, Mr Marroquin alleges that the series portrays the DEA in too positive a light.

Pablo Escobar is thought to have been behind between 4,000 and 5,000 killings in Colombia during the 1980s and 1990s, but many in Colombia and abroad are still fascinated with his lavish lifestyle and the extent of his power.

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