Many Colombians abroad sometimes have to face the stigma that Colombia is Pablo Escobar. On many occasions I have been asked where I am from after listening to my accent (both in English and in Spanish) to which I respond full of pride “I am Colombian”, almost immediately the answer I find is “Aaaah Pablo Escobar, Narcos, Drugs.” I learned to close my eyes, take a deep breath and start educating people why Colombia is much more than Pablo Escobar.
Not only is Colombia known as the gateway to South America, since geographically it is located at the meeting point between Central and South America. It is one of the countries with more biodiversity in the world: volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, beaches, jungles, deserts, plains…, and it also has a population of varied origin that offers an extraordinary cultural mix. Then I cannot miss a little talk about coffee, as Colombian coffee is reputed to be one of the best in the world.
Colombia is the second-largest exporter of flowers in the world, roses, carnations, astromelias, chrysanthemums, and hydrangeas are the most exported and appreciated in the world. Colombia also has a Nobel Prize in literature that was awarded in 1982 to the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Soledad, his most acclaimed work).
The list could continue longer, however, the message I want to leave with you is that Colombia is much more than what the media shows, its inhabitants, its landscapes and its climate, and not to mention its cuisine. I encourage you to visit and find out for yourself.
By Paula Calvo