A South American-themed bar called Escobar has been blasted for celebrating the Colombian drug lord.
The Nottingham venue opened fully for the first time earlier this year with a big Pablo Escobar mural, which staff previously explained inspired the name.
A section of wall dedicated to the world’s biggest manufacturer and distributor of cocaine in 1980s has been slammed by Colombians in the UK city as “insensitive”.
Thousands of people were murdered as his cartel operation terrorised the country and beyond until police shot him dead in 1993.
Maria Motonya, from Medellin, Colombia has lived in the UK for 20 years.
She told BBC News : “For me, it’s very distasteful and insensitive. Clearly the owners did not do their research. In Medellin we were terrified, afraid to come to the door.
“My father’s family were beheaded because they wouldn’t give him [Escobar] their farm.
“Escobar is a very common name in South America but with the mural and everything else, this bar has a very clear association with Pablo Escobar.”
She continued: “You’d have to be blind not to see that. And what are we saying to young people who visit this bar. That it’s OK to be a gangster? That it’s OK to be associated with drugs?
“I think they [the owners] have probably been watching too many American films.”
Katherine Hannigan, whose mum is Colombian but lives in Nottingham, said she was “disgusted” by the name of the bar and questioned whether a Bin Laden Cafe would be next.
She said: “Escobar murdered thousands of innocent Colombians, groomed children, raped young women and stole land from farmers, leaving them homeless and starving.
“Did they not know or did they not care? I don’t know which is worse. Will their next bar be called Bin Laden Cafe?
“It feels like they are capitalising on our history yet excluding us by celebrating our most painful past.”
The bar’s General manager Matt Clarke explained the controversial mural to Nottinghamshire Live last December.
He said: “We had an artist come and we said it’s South-American themed so do whatever you want to do.
“So they did a big Pablo Escobar mural and we thought ‘Escobar’ – that’s a great name for a bar.”
But in response to the recent disgust at its theming, Escobar’s owners told BBC News: “Our bar does not glamorise a known drug lord and we are not a Colombian bar.
“We are a Latin American bar and restaurant, and the mural in question is one of three which all have tried to bring a South American theme to the restaurant.
“We decided to go with the name Escobar as it is just a clever play on words, incorporating the word ‘bar’ into our name.
“We have tried to react very amicably and even apologised for any resemblance that may have hurt the sentiments of our community.
“We have no connections to the drug lord nor do we have any affiliations with his network.
“As a gesture of goodwill, we offered to host some charity events to support the Colombian community.”
The Daily Star has approached the bar for further comment.
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