While the concept of tourism in areas of historic tragedies is far from being a modern phenomenon, it was only recently that the term dark tourism was created and regarded by academics. Dark tourism was first written about by two men, John Lennon and Malcolm Foley, in their 2000 book that investigated “tourist interest in recent death, disaster, and atrocity.” In 2011, Dom Joly published what would become one of the first reflections of such travel in his book called The Dark Tourist (Gilbert 2018).
Conventional perceptions of Latin America’s organized criminal groups tend to emphasize the greed and violence produced by these groups when, in reality, their existence is much more nuanced than this. Although most associate the presence of criminal groups with heightened levels of violence or drug use, these groups usually do much more than this, often providing certain services and resources to local communities.
Twenty-two years in a maximum-security prison was deemed sufficient punishment for the favored hitman of former drug kingpin of Colombia, Pablo Escobar, on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. John Jairo Velásquez, also known by his nickname, “Popeye,” was released early from a prison located 100 miles north of Bogotá, Colombia, a place where he had confessed to atrocities far more numerous than the one murder for which he had spent his time serving.