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Escobar TU Delft Delta Latitud
Escobar at Stieltjesweg. (Photo: Connie van Uffelen)

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Escobar’? An espresso coffee bar? A Colombian drug lord? The Latin American Student Association of Delft, Latitud, lodged a complaint at the university regarding the name of the coffee bar on campus.

During summer, Latitud received numerous complaints from Latin American students at TU Delft about the coffee bar at Stieltjesweg 226. Although it had not yet opened, the students were offended by seeing on Facebook that ‘Escobar TU Delft’ was going to sell Colombian coffee and place a map of Colombia in the bar.

“It is the clear relationship between Colombia, the coffee and Escobar that is very offensive,” explains Colombian master civil engineering student, Juan Felipe Garzón Amórtegui. “If you google ‘Escobar’ plus ‘Colombia’ you will not find coffee or good things from our country. You will only find this guy Pablo Escobar. He was a drugs dealer who killed a lot of people and who became famous because of the Narcos Netflix series.”

‘The design concept and branding of the store relates to the drug trafficking culture’

Before the opening, Garzón Amórtegui went to the bar to ask why it was named Escobar. The answer he got was that it stands for ‘espresso coffee bar’. “I said: okay, but do you think that Escobar can be associated with a drugs dealer? The answer was no. You have to be a strong character to say that and not feel ashamed.”

The manager of the coffee bar was given the opportunity by Delta to comment on this issue but did not make use of it. According to Latitud, a representative of the bar wanted to solve the problem by publishing an official disclaimer stating that it is not the intention of the store to relate its brand name with that of Pablo Escobar nor to offend any person.

In its complaint to TU Delft, Latitud considers these arguments invalid. “The design concept and branding of the store relates to the drug trafficking culture, and specifically to the Netflix series Narcos” it states. According to Colombian master student Juan David Godoy Landinez “They use pictures of people with their eyes covered and a grid map. These are also used in Narcos’ trailer.”

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Latitude states that Escobars Facebook page shows similarities with the opening credits of Narcos (to the right). (Screenshot: Latitud)
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YouTube showing the opening credits of Netflix series Narcos. (Screenshot: Latitud)
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The grid on Escobar's website. (Screenshot: Latitud)
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The grid in the Narcos trailer. (Screenshot: Latitud)

Moreover, no disclaimer has yet been published and according to Latitude some of the negative reviews by students in the social media have been deleted. “They did not mean to insult anyone, but not meaning to insult anyone doesn’t mean that you are not insulting someone,” says Godoy Landinez.

Latitud called on TU Delft to change the brand name of the bar “to stop this allusion to terrorism, violence and drug trafficking.” However, Escobar is a private organisation and is not affiliated to TU Delft. The bar removed the name ‘TU Delft’ from its logo upon request from the university, but it cannot be forced to change ‘Escobar’, says a spokeswoman. TU Delft has problems with the name too and asked Escobar to reconsider it. There is no map of Colombia inside.

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Some of the comments on Escobar's Facebook page. (Screenshot: Latitud)
TU Delft Delta comments Facebook escobar
Some of the comments on Escobar's Facebook page. (Screenshot: Latitud)

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