US rapper Wiz Khalifa in Colombia drug lord row
US rapper Wiz Khalifa has angered Colombians by publishing photos of himself visiting the grave of the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar in the city of Medellin.
Escobar terrorised Colombia in the 1980s and 1990s, bribing, kidnapping or killing all those who stood in his way.
Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said Wiz Khalifa should apologise for “advocating crime”.
He said Wiz Khalifa should have brought flowers to Escobar’s victims instead.
Photographs posted by the 29-year-old rapper from Pittsburgh, who had played a concert in Medellin on Friday, showed flowers and a marijuana joint on the grave of Pablo Escobar.
Wiz Khalifa is a prolific consumer of marijuana who has had a strain of marijuana named after him which he markets with a company in Colorado.
But his offering to the late Colombian drug lord did not go down well with the Medellin mayor, who called the rapper a “scoundrel”.
“It shows that this guy has never had to suffer from the violence inflicted by these drug traffickers,” Mr Gutierrez said.
Pablo Escobar and his Medellin cartel are held responsible for about 4,000 killings, including the bombing of an airliner in which all 107 people on board were killed.
- Born in 1949 in Antioquia, Colombia, he became the leader of the powerful Medellin drugs cartel
- During the cartel’s heyday he was thought to be among the world’s 10 richest people
- His Medellin drugs cartel was accused of being behind up to 80% of all the cocaine shipped to the US
- Killed on a Medellin roof-top during a shoot-out as he was trying to flee from the police on 2 December 1993
- His life has been featured in the Netflix series Narcos
The city of Medellin has tried shed its image as the cartel’s former headquarters ever since Escobar was shot dead by police in 1993.
The photos of Wiz Khalifa at the grave and also posing in front of the apartment building where Escobar lived therefore touched a raw nerve among many Colombians.
But others seemed bemused by the outrage Wiz Khalifa’s visit to the grave caused.
Twitter user @KarolinaWolf joked: “And here’s me thinking that marijuana-loving rapper Wiz Khalifa came to Medellin to visit the remains of [the recently canonised Colombian missionary] Mother Laura. Unbelievable.”
Wiz Khalifa himself has so far not commented on the anger he caused among some Colombians with his Escobar-themed tour of Medellin.