Drug Kingpin T-Shirts Send Wrong Message in Mexico
Sebastian Marroquin's designer T-shirts are causing a huge controversy in Mexico.
Amidst the country's ongoing and brutal drug war, Marroquin's company is raking in profits from clothing with photos of Pablo Escobar plastered all over them.
During the 80s and early 90s, the late Medellin cartel boss helped move cocaine all over the world from his home in Colombia. Now, officials in Mexico fear the clothing is sending the wrong message to the youth.
"We're not trying to make an apology for drug trafficking, to glamorize it in the way that the media does," insists Marroquin, 39, who was born Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, but changed his name to avoid reprisals after his father's death.
In a bid to head off criticism that the line glorifies drug crime, the shirts carry messages to provoke reflection. One bearing Escobar's student card reads: "What's your future looking like?" while a design emblazoned with his driver's license warns: "Nice pace, but wrong way."
The cotton shirts, which went on sale last year in Mexico, are selling well in stores in Culiacan, the capital of western Sinaloa state, which is home of Mexico's most wanted trafficker, Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.
The clothing is also on sale in Guadalajara in western Jalisco state, long a refuge for drug traffickers, which has been swept up in Mexico's raging drug violence. About 60,000 lives have been lost in the last six years.
Analysts warn that the increasingly popular 'Escobar Henao' clothing line simply reinforces an already widespread fascination with the symbols of cartel culture such as marijuana leaves and AK-47s among youngsters in Mexico.
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