The Colombian Hit Man Who Became a YouTube Star

Excerpt from this article:

He is a former enforcer for the Medellín drug cartel who has boasted of committing hundreds of murders on behalf of his boss, Pablo Escobar. Mr. Velásquez spent more than 20 years in prison for plotting the killing of a Colombian presidential candidate in 1989 and goes by the nickname Popeye.

Now, Mr. Velásquez, 54, is trying to rebrand himself as a sort of truth-telling evangelist in a series of Spanish-language videos he began posting on YouTube last year. The underlying message (there were 81 videos as of Sunday) is one of forgiveness.

Now, he is known as Popeye Arrepentido, or Remorseful Popeye…His audience cannot seem to stop watching. The videos have gained more than 117,000 subscribers and 9.5 million views. The comments are filled with praise and admiration. One person signed off with “Hugs.”

Advertisements