The former enforcer of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has made a major career change.
After two decades in prison Velásquez, AKA Popeye, is hoping to warn youngsters away from lives of crime.
The channel is called Popeye Arrepentido -which translates as ‘remorseful Popeye’- was created following a friend’s suggestion and now boasts over 100,000 subscribers.
Velásquez’s videos open with bullet shots, but he has defended this by saying:
It may seem like I am glorifying crime but it’s to attract young people.
There is a certain degree of morbid curiosity about the killings, especially from young people.Advertisement
He explains in one video:
Before I start I want to say that everything Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria did was bad. It’s important that new generations don’t get fixated on the figure of Pablo Escobar and even less on mine. We should not be a model for anyone. We are bandits.
But there has been some backlash to the channel, which is hardly surprising considering Velásquez previously terrorised the nation, masterminding 200 car bombs, personally carrying out around 300 murders, and ordering thousands of others on behalf of the Medellín cartel.
Gonzálo Rojas, whose father died on board Avianca flight 203 which was destroyed by a cartel bomb, said:
It’s a slap in the face for us for him to present himself now as an expert, a consultant, when he hasn’t shown any remorse for what he did to us.
He’s become a celebrity because of his crimes.
It is understandably difficult for those close to victims to accept, but having served his time Velásquez has to find some way to make a living, and at least he isn’t turning back to crime.