BOGOTA–In life, Pablo Escobar was legendary — a cocaine lord venerated by Colombia’s poor and hunted relentlessly by police. In death came books, a TV series and plans for a movie. But registering his name as a commercial brand, as requested by the Escobar family, goes way too far, a government body overseeing intellectual property has ruled. To wit, says the superintendent of industry and trade, such a gesture would “undermine the morals and public order of Colombian society and defend violence, drug trafficking and terrorism.” Escobar, head of the powerful Medellin drug cartel in the 1980s and early ’90s, was shot dead by police in 1993 as he tried to escape a raid by scampering across rooftops. His widow Maria Isabel Santos, and two children filed to register his name as a brand. They have been living in Argentina under assumed names for years. The request was first denied in 2006 and again in 2012, but the family kept at it and appealed again.
And it has been turned down again. No more appeals can be filed. The superintendent said Escobar is associated with a cycle of violence that left thousands of victims and “is remembered as ‘the biggest drug lord in history.’” In the petition, the Escobar family had argued that a Pablo Escobar brand would “transmit messages that invite humanity to reflect in order to create a society that recovers and respects human rights,” said the superintendent’s office. Escobar fought a bloody war to avoid being extradited to the United States, which wanted him for allegedly being behind the shipment of tons and tons of cocaine to the United States. Many poor Colombians loved Escobar because of his largesse with his vast wealth. He built parks for them, and such. Books were written about him, a TV series made, and a movie is imminent about him, with Benicio del Toro playing Escobar. Colombian artist Fernando Botero did an oil painting depicting Escobar, and the image has ended up on T-shirts and stickers. His grave in Medellin, his home town, and his estate, called Napoles, are tourist attractions.