The problem with any adaptation - be it television or film - is that there is going to be inaccuracies.
No one story can tell the fullness of truth because, well, sometimes the truth is too brutal or too real for people to handle. Sometimes, yes, it needs some embellishment in order to make sense in a narrative way and sometimes, things need to be condensed in order to make the story more easier for audiences to understand.
That's why all TV series and films based on actual events come with a disclaimer that underlines this fact. Netflix's original series, Narcos, is based on the real-life exploits of arguably the most notorious drug trafficker in history - Pablo Escobar. Given that the story is relatively recent, it's no surprise that people in Colombia still have memories of some of his atrocities and, even more pointedly, some of his family members are still alive.
One such person is Pablo Escobar's own son, Juan Pablo Escobar - now known as Sebastian Marroquin, who's written a book on his experiences as the son of the King of Cocaine and, needless to say, wasn't happy with either how the series portrayed his father, himself or his family.
In a lengthy Facebook post in Spanish, Marroquin pointed out a total of TWENTY-EIGHT egregious inaccuracies with the show. Obviously, don't read it unless you've finished Narcos' second season.
Here's the post in original Spanish...
And here's the same post put through Google Translate. If you speak fluent Spanish and are able to come up with a better translation, please get in touch!
On behalf of my country and in honor of the real truth of the incidents which took place between the 80’s and 90’s I see in the obligation to make serious mistakes of a series that claims to be as truthful, when Is a lot to be insulting, so the story of a whole nation and of so many victims and families:
1. Carlos Henao R.I.P. was my maternal uncle and it was not a drug dealer it’s cracked up to be in the series. In fact it was a great man, a hard worker, honest, noble and good father of the family. A good friend of my mother. Empirical was an architect who helped build some houses, roads and bridges of the hacienda Naples to my father, but never got involved in illegal activities. Was never convicted in Colombia or any country for any offence. It was Bible salesman, acrylics and MOPS. He was always talking about making peace, not war. Always talked about escape, not to attack anyone. It was not drug dealer and the Netflix to malign him and with it to all of us that we are his entire family, with total impunity and tranquility. Carlos Henao wasn’t ever drug dealer or lived in Miami. He was kidnapped and tortured with Francisco Toro, another innocent man and decent. How sad that Netflix has shown so many corpses with the posters of los pepes hung up, and they forgot to publish the images of the body of my uncle Carlos tortured in that respect they were identical and also public. But not happy with that, placed him at another time and place in the history of my father, and made it seem that his death was the product of a legitimate confrontation between police and narcos, when in reality it was an injustice, his death, while this is She violates the right to good name, to the honor and the honor of a man who was very dear and respected in medellín in one piece. A man blameless from beginning to end.
2. My Father was not a supporter of Atlético Nacional, but of the independiente medellín. If the writers don’t even know the favorite team of Pablo, how dare to tell you the rest of a story like that and sell it as true? Do everything okay?
3. The Psychic was arrested in New York on 24 September 1991 so for the escape from my father of the Cathedral (July 1992) I had been arrested in the us a long time for falsehood of documents . There was a subsequent and unjustly accused and condemned by the bomb to the flight of the plane from avianca that killed more than 100 passengers and crew and where it was believed that I would travel the successor of Luis Carlos Galan, Cesar Gaviria. Until the prosecutor de greiff sent letters to the us in favour of his acquittal since this man also-according to my father-he didn’t have any share in the fact taken in real life by Carlos Castaño under orders from my dad. But unfortunately it can more hatred that justice at the time of searching for the truth.
4. on the escape of the Cathedral: there was no confrontation so big there, only a keeper of the prison died. Those who were not clashed. My Father had no contacts, no help from the law to escape. The leak was designed from the very construction of jail: my father ordered to leave a few bricks loose. Dad ran away when the government informed that her incumplirían him the agreement not to transfer him never of that prison.
5. Lemon was a worker of Roberto aka “Teddy bear” Elder brother of my father. He worked for him as a driver, 20 years old. This was not a appeared nor was recruited by the end of the story of the family, but many years ago. But when it comes to a worker of Roberto and being the teddy bear a collaborator of the dea, was able to extract and deliver information to sell to his brother since he had first-hand about the modus vivendi and the endeavours of my father. Lemon met him being the driver of the truck that I was coming up to the cathedral. The Teddy bear at the end of the days of my father-sadly and unfairly-assisted in tasks of intelligence in favour of the interest and the dea to give with the whereabouts of his brother, wife and children.
6. It is not true that the posters of medellín and Cali will stay with Miami and New York as places of drug trafficking, respectively. The truth is that even today before the exponential growth of the market of prohibited drugs there is still one so big, that there will always be a deficit of Drug Dealers and customers for all those who arrive. Consumers are millions and pay whatever it takes to be pleased.
7. The CIA wasn’t who invited him to the brothers brown create los pepes. Was Fidel Castaño who decided with the complicity of the Cali cartel and the local authorities and foreign turned a blind eye to thousands of crimes and missing.
8. My mother never bought or used a weapon. Everything about it is a lie. Never even shot.
9. My Father did not kill any personally to Colonel “Carrillo” as they call it in the series to the chief of the block of search. Many attacks made him to the police of Colombia and they died more than 500 in a month in the city of medellin at the end of the 80’s. I’m not proud at all of the violence of my father, and I must admit, I did a lot of damage to the police as well as also gave him a lot of money.
10. Those who are knowledgeable in the background of the story, you know that my father was wrong seriously ordering the death of those who were their partners and lenders, moncada and galeano. These last few were kidnapped by the cartel of Cali and to have them released alive, they promised to give to Paul and his men at the same time they demanded to cut the whole economic aid. Had phone records showing that change of loyalties. My Father still decided to forgive the life of moncada at the last minute, but by the time he got the order to stop his murder, death had already found. And this was one of the crimes determinants in the fall and the end of my father.
11. My Father at the end of his days he was alone. Not so full of bandits as show it. Well, almost all of their main bandits, with the exception of aka the little angel and the flop, had surrendered or were dead.
12. There was no such comfort in the days after the escape of the cathedral. We were living in slums, not in mansions.
13. The history of such “Leon” of Miami is a lie. Did not live in the USA. And it was a man absolutely faithful and brave in the service of my father. He died after being kidnapped and tortured by the chestnut in medellin. Fell fighting the war in the name of my father, but it never sold as show it.
14. My Father never threatened to Cali as a city. Put out a statement saying that his wife and part of his family were also originally from the area. So I said in the statement that I had nothing against the citizenship.
15. Ricardo Priscus was already dead by the time we show it. I had a brother doctor who yes was a good man stigmatized by the actions of his brother, but it wasn’t a bandit. Ricardo died a long time before in real life.
16. Ever my dad attacked the daughter of Gilberto Rodriguez in his wedding, not in your life. Or any member of his family. That was the covenant, do not touch the families. My Father did. I believe that they don’t the day I got the bomb on 13 January 1988 in the building Monaco where we lived with my sister and my mother.
17. My Father never forced us to stay with him in the underground, always thought just like my mother that the best thing was that we educáramos and we had other opportunities different from them.
18. We were in a single shooting with my father, but not similar to the one that show there. In my book yes story how they were really these facts.
19. Put the attacks of my father with bombs to drugs the discount in the year 1993 when in fact occurred between 1988 and 1989? A little out of time for me to taste don’t you think?
20. My paternal grandmother betrayed my father and allied himself with his eldest son Roberto, negotiated with the pepes and collaborated so actively that allowed them to continue living peacefully in Colombia while those who were loyal to the love for our father, we are still living In Exile. I would have liked to have the version so “sweet” of my grandmother who paint in the series.
21. The trip to Germany was not like this. My paternal grandmother didn’t travel with us to nowhere.
22. The Prosecutor’s office of Colombia we also wanted to help as much as I show de greiff, who seemed but it wasn’t so good. His office was completely infiltrated by the Cali cartel. As well as the whole scheme of protection provided by their own agents. We were in condition of hostages, abducted by our own been charged with the offence of kinship. We were two minors and two women locked up in a small hotel room.
23. Virginia Vallejo was so in love that he rejected the money to my father? That’s if they are two lies in a large and well!
My mom never talked to her after the escape of the cathedral. It was almost a decade that my father had no contact with Virginia who was a lover at the same time of the heads of the Cali cartel.
24. My Father at the hotel tequendama didn’t send us phones with anyone, we used the place. I was hanging him every time he called me to protect him, but he turned out to be a whimsical and stayed longer than prudent in the line, knowing that it would be tracked. “the phone is death” told me all my life. That’s why I didn’t want to talk to me, because I would cut off the call. Then he asked to talk to my mother and sister and identified before the operator with his two names and surnames, so their called were to say goodbye, to prolong it as much as possible that last call, with the clear intention of being located in what he chose As the day and the place for your last battle in the neighborhood the olive trees of their city, medellín. My Father killed himself as I said it dozens of times. This is why I’m not surprised that the shot that took her life was in his own hand and gun, two millimeters away from where I always swore that he would wear it. It wasn’t the police. Carlos Castaño ran that final operation, nor participated any foreign authority. So I recounted the own brown in person, loudly in front of my mother.
25. Any journalist was murdered in front of the hotel tequendama.
26. My Father never mistreated his parents, much less to Abel his dad. Never existed a conversation in that tone or sense.
27. After my father died, my mom was summoned to a meeting with the Cali cartel in the city, there were more than 40 big Mafia Bosses of the Colombia of the moment. Who saved her life to my mother and was signed after Miguel Rodriguez, not gilberto. On that occasion they stripped us of the inherited property and they stayed and shared as part of the spoils of war.
28. My Grandma says to him in the series to my mother who betrayed my father? When in real life it was my paternal grandmother and their children which they had contacts in secret with the Cali Cartel!
Of the 1 season or I’m talking to not bore you with the long list.
The world is definitely upside down and the stories it is clear that anyone tells them, as they feel like it. And they are successful no matter how bad a few.
It's hard to know if Marroquin is simply trying to protect his father's reputation or if Narcos was taking liberties with the story. Surely it's to be expected as the show doesn't attempt to make it seem like a documentary. It's a television series played by actors, so why shouldn't it take poetic licence when it's needed?
Let us know what you think in the comments!