SINGAPORE: Following a backlash over its name and logo, a local bar named after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has apologised and said it would be ‘revamping’ the logo that currently depicts an image of the former kingpin.
The bar at China Square Central at Cross Street, however, did not say if it would be changing its name, which is also a point of contention with the Embassy of Colombia here and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
“We’re aware of the recent controversy concerning our branding and would like to take this opportunity to apologise to any community or individual who was offended by it,” Escobar wrote on its Facebook page on Feb 7 at 10.30pm, told NST.
Reiterating that it was not the bar’s intention to glorify or condone the actions of the drug lord Escobar, the three-week-old nightspot asked the public for suggestions on the redesign of its logo.
The venue currently features themes related to the late Colombian criminal, who led the Medellin drug cartel known for its cocaine trade.
The owner of the bar, Stan Sri Ganesh, 36, told TODAY in an earlier interview that he would meet the police on Wednesday for a chat at the Police Cantonment Complex. The authorities had contacted him on Monday.
The Colombian embassy confirmed on Tuesday that it had sent an official note to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce the bar.
A CNB spokesperson earlier said that the manner in which Pablo Escobar’s name and image are being used to promote the bar is highly objectionable, and runs counter to Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach towards drugs.
“The glamorisation of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible and insensitive,” the CNB spokesperson told TODAY.
Pablo Escobar became one of the richest men in the world in the 1980s by dealing in cocaine. He was also behind a violent campaign that bombed, kidnapped and killed thousands of people, including politicians, judges and journalists who stood in his way. In 1993, he was shot and killed by the Colombian police.
Some netizens continued to criticise the Cross Street bar despite its latest announcement.
Amresh Kumar disputed the bar’s claim that it did not intend to glorify Pablo Escobar, pointing out that the establishment had been quoting “Plata O Plomo” on its offers on Facebook, which is a phrase in Spanish for “silver or lead”, meaning “take the money (bribe) or I will take your life”.
Others, however, encouraged the bar to resist the “haters” and keep its name and logo.