A sticker album dedicated to notorious Colombian criminals including Pablo Escobar has become a hit
in Medellin, the city that was once his headquarters.
The 16-page album, which has been on the market for about 10 days, focuses on Escobar, the Medellin cartel chief who was killed in 1993, as well as other drug-traffickers and killers such as Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha or John Jairo Vasquez.
The booklet is available only from small vendors in the poorest parts of Medellin.
With the promise of MP3s, iPods and footballs, the album and the corresponding stickers – sold for 100 pesos (several US cents) per packet – has become a hot commodity among school children.
“The albums are delivered by men on motorcycles and they’re selling very well,” one vendor said. “I don’t have any left.”
It is unclear who is behind the book, with no name or address appearing on the product.
Officials have sent mixed signals on the phenomenon.
Medellin’s top security official, Sergio Zuluaga, announced Wednesday that the albums would be seized, deeming them a bad influence on the young.
The mayor’s office backpedaled, however, saying no decision has been made on the matter.
One of Latin America’s most feared drug lords, Escobar once supplied most of the cocaine to the United States, and masterminded a campaign of kidnappings and bombings in Colombia’s capital Bogota and other parts of the country.
Considered one of the richest men in the world at the height of his power, he was eventually killed by police in Medellin in late 1993 at the age of 44.
News of the sticker book comes as a television series recounting Escobar’s rise was setting audience records earlier this summer, prompting fears that a new generation could come to idolize his murderous ways.
The first episode in the series attracted 11 million viewers.
In Medellin, Escobar is still seen as a benefactor, especially among the poor and working class he showered with narco-dollars.