Heroes of our time. The figure of the drug-trafficker in Colombian narcotelenovelas

  • Diana Palaversich Spanish and Latin American Studies University of New South Wales Sydney
narcotelenovelas, Colombia, Pablo Escobar, savage capitalism


This paper examines the representation of drug traffickers in Colombian narcotelenovelas. While the Colombian official discourse treats these characters as the embodiment of evil and cruelty, narcotelenovelas treat them as models of social mobility in countries characterized by social injustice. The figure of drug trafficker (narcotraficante) represented in Colombian TV series is constructed at the intersection of two myths: the ancient myth of the social bandit, a brave macho man who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, and the contemporary myth about the capitalist entrepreneur (a self-made man) who rises from poverty and marginality to a position of power and wealth.


Download data is not yet available.


Astorga, L. 2007. Seguridad, traficantes y militares. El poder y la sombra. México: Tusquets.

Barbero, J. M. 1992. Géneros y lecturas de la telenovela en Colombia. Bogotá: Tercer Mundo Editores.

Betancourt, D. y M. García. 1994. Contrabandistas, marimberos y mafiosos. Bogotá: Tercer Mundo Editores.

Bourdieu, P. 1998. The Essence of Neoliberalism. Le Monde Diplomatique. Dostupno na http://mondediplo.com/1998/12/08bourdieu.

Carrá, J. y S. Restrepo. 2013. I love Pablo Escobar. Revista Anfibia. Dostupno na http://www.revistaanfibia.com/impresion/i-love-pablo-escobar-.

Castells, M. 1998. End of Millennium. The Information Age. Economy, Society, and Culture, volumen III. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Campbell, H. 2009. Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juárez. Texas: University of Texas Press.
Dana, L. [ed.] 2011. World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship. Edward Elgar Pub.

Fasciolince, H. A. 2012. Estética y narcotráfico. Dostupno na http://problemascolombianosupb.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/estetica-y-narcotrafico.html

Fiske, J. 2001. Popular Culture. Production and Consumption. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Foro Univisión TV. 2010. Latinoamérica comienza a usar la telenovela para contar sus problemas reales. Dostupno na http://foro.univision.com/t5/Comunidad-de-Telenovelas/En-Mexico-preparan-serie-sobre-narcotr%C3%A1fico/td-p/371835056.

Rocha, J. L. 2011. Los jinetes del desarrollo en tiempos neoliberales. Primer jinete: los narcos. Envío. Revista de la Universidad Centroamericana 30 (353): 43-59.

Hobsbawm, E. 1971. Primitive Rebels. Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movements in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Kalmanovitz, S. 1990. La economía del narcotráfico en Colombia. Economía colombiana 226-227: l8-28.

Labrousse, A. 1993. La droga, el dinero y las armas. México: Siglo XXI.

Monsiváis, C. 2004. Viento rojo. Diez historias del narco. México: Plaza y Janés.

Pérez, M. 2009. Tras andanada de críticas, renuncia el funcionario que elogió el modelo del narco. La Jornada, 30 de octubre.

Roldan, M. 1999. “Cocaine and the ‘Miracle’ of Modernity in Medellín”, en Cocaine Global Histories. Londres: Routledge.

Salazar, A. 1991. No nacimos pa’ semilla. La cultura de las bandas juveniles de Medellin. Bogotá: CINEP.

________ 2001. La parabola de Pablo. Auge y caída de un gran capo de narcotráfico. Bogotá: Planeta.

Sayak, V. 2010. Capitalismo gore. Barcelona: Editorial Melusina.

Strauss, K. 2012. Are Drug Dealers Entrepreneurs. Forbes Magazine. Dostupno na http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2012/06/22/are-drug-dealers-entrepreneurs/.

Syal, Rajeev. 2009. Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor. The Observer. Dostupno na http://www.theguardian.com/global/2009/dec/13/drug-money-banks-saved-un-cfief-claims

The New York Times, 2012. “Too Big to Indict”. Urednička kolumna.

Thoumi, F. 1995. Political Economy and Illegal Drugs in Colombia. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publications.

Vulliamy, E. 2012. Western Banks Reaping Billions from Colombian Cocaine Trade. The Observer. Dostupno na http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/western-banks-colombian-cocaine-trade.
How to Cite
Palaversich, Diana. 2016. “Heroes of Our Time. The Figure of the Drug-Trafficker in Colombian Narcotelenovelas”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (2), 457–475. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v11i2.7.