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Former hitman for Pablo Escobar now Youtube sensation

June 15, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Former hitman for Pablo Escobar now Youtube sensation

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John Jairo Velásquez is the rising YouTube sensation once worked for the world’s most powerful Colombian drug cartel but now portrays himself in his videos as a remorseful former hitman.

His videos include entertaining his viewers with violent tales of the past, while also seeking forgiveness for all of the lives that he took.

Velásquez is a former enforcer for the Medellín Cartel and has committed hundreds of murders of behalf of his former boss, Pablo Escobar.

The self-proclaimed hitman, who goes by the name Popeye, has spent over 20 years behind bars for plotting the murder of a Colombian Presidential candidate back in 1989.

The sicario who is now 54-year-old is seeking forgiveness in his truth-telling videos in his series of YouTube videos that he started to make some time last year. There were 81 videos posted on his channel as of Sunday.

Now, he is better known as Popeye Arrepentido, or “Remorseful Popeye.”

Velásquez said in an interview on Sunday: “It’s not about monetizing my life story but about telling the stories, the things that happened.”

He continued, “I’ve been famous for 30 years. I only want to have an opinion because I am an activist. I am against the Venezuelan and the Colombian government. I am against Donald Trump because of his hatred of Latinos. I just want my opinion heard.”

Popeye’s videos are certainly captivating viewers, as he has gained over 117,000 subscribers and over 9.5 million views. His channel also seems to be met with respect, praise, and admiration for his ability to tell the truth.

Aside from his YouTube videos, Velásquez also dedicated a book to Escobar in 2015. However, not all people are pleased with the man’s stardom, particularly those who are victims of his prior rampages.

According to the New York Times, one of the victim’s sons, a man who was one of 107 murdered by the cartel when they planted a bomb that exploded over Bogotá, Colombia, said that his popularity is currently overshadowing all of the brutal acts of violence he committed.

The son believes that the man has not shown any genuine remorse for his crimes and that he was reveling in his new-found celebrity because of his former hit-man life.

Most hit men do not usually turn to YouTube seeking forgiveness and spilling secrets about past misdeeds. One expert referred to Velásquez as an “astute self-promoter” who is capitalizing on his infamy by claiming to have been reformed, but yet is still glorifying his past life.

Alternatively, Velásquez said he felt reborn after being released from prison. The description of his YouTube account says: “I created this channel with the intention to be able to talk day to day about my process reintegrating into society as well as my process with true remorse.”

Popeye went on to note that serving as an assassin isn’t normal and now he “respects life and society.”

He continued, “I was resocialized: When I changed my way of thinking, I changed my way of being.”

In one video, he asks for forgiveness from one of his victim’s relatives.

Another viewer of the channel replies, “When can the victims of the drug war of the Medellín cartel meet you — the ones who lost brothers or fathers in the police force?”

Velásquez testified while holding a book titled “The True Pablo: Blood, Treason and Death,” during a trial in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2006. Credit William Fernando Martinez/Associated Press

Velásquez testified while holding a book titled “The True Pablo: Blood, Treason, and Death,” during a trial in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2006. Credit William Fernando Martinez/Associated Press

Although he found the question painful: “It was the war that killed your brother, but I am not going to justify that, Popeye replied. “I am going to assume responsibility because your brother was defending a country, an institution, and we were murderers paid by the cartels,” he added.

Some viewers are welcoming him with open arms back into society; one person wrote, “Hello Popeye, “I love all of your statements because they are full of honesty and courage. Hugs.”

Others also appreciate his candor regarding his past experiences, another viewer wrote,“You have the personality to be able to tell the truth to the Colombian society.”

In an email, a professor of political science from the Birmingham-Southern College responded to the former cartel hitman’s rising fame in an email, saying: “In a twisted way, we celebrate ‘successful’ criminals, even stone-cold killers in Hollywood movies, cable television shows and soap operas: ‘Scarface,’ ‘Blow,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ Netflix’s ‘Narcos.’”

The professor further noted that his fame stems directly from his ties to Pablo Escobar, but also said that this truth-telling personality could also get him killed. In an interview with The Telegraph back in 2014, Velásquez stated that he has a wife and son living in the U.S. and that if and when anyone decided to come after him, he will be able to take care of himself.

Another video depicted Velásquez’s recollection of where he was when authorities killed Escobar, the leader of the Medellín cartel, in 1993. One viewer also wanted to know what he would write in his “notepads.” He responded by saying: “Those notepads were simply to write the names of the people who he wanted to kill. If he wrote your name in those notepads, you were a dead man.”

Velásquez is not phased nor scared of revealing the cartel’s dirty inner secrets. In a video posted back in October, he said that he would always be an assassin and continued to brag about his former reputation as a hitman. He also referred to himself as the living memory of the cartel and that he would never have a bad thing to say about Escobar.

He said, “For me, Escobar was a terrorist, a drug dealer, a kidnapper — but he was also my friend; he treated me with kindness and respect.”

“He was the kind of man that would look you in the eyes and do what he says. Everyone knows what he was, but with me he was good. I loved Pablo; He never owed me money for any of my hits.”

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