If you watched, or are currently marathoning, Narcos on Netflix, you are familiar with the deeply real characters that contributed to Pablo Escobar’s Colombian cocaine cartel. While the facts are true, some names on the drama were changed for creative liberties, most notably the name change of real-life journalist and mistress to Escobar, Virginia Vallejo, to Valeria Velez.
By making this alliterative change, the show was able to take creative detours that make Velez more of a villain and ramp up a manipulative, sleuthing persona. There is a theme throughout the series that Velez’s words are mightier than the sword and often cause action. [Spoilers Ahead!] In real life, Vallejo did name Escobar "The Robin Hood Paisa," contributing to his political success. On the show, her words also caused the kidnapping of Diana Turbay. Velez also informs Escobar of her and Turbay’s feud as journalists and Turbay’s high status in society. This conversation is something we can’t verify happened in real life. But, it is significant to Season 1's story arc.
Though Vallejo’s words had impact in real life, Velez’s quotes have been key in the way things have played out on the show. Here are 9 of Valeria Velez’s most game-changing quotes on Narcos.
1. “Now that you have admitted to trafficking in narcotics, my image as a journalist cannot be associated with yours.”
Above all else, Valeria Velez cares about getting the story and maintaining that image.
2. “'I made my money from taxis’ isn’t going to work when you face the press.”
Velez is the woman behind Escobar's media success.
3. “He is a man to whom the people mean a great deal. All of us.”
She knew how to get Escobar's message to the people.
4. “I found him sitting in the parking lot in his beat-up Renault, eating a bag of apples... and reading economic reform textbooks … He's not an oligarch. He's from modest circumstances. Like you, he's worked for everything he has. You have to be careful with people like that.”
She reminds Escobar here that not all politicians are "oligarchs."
5. “It would be an honor for me, and would benefit both of us.”
Honor and benefits, this pretty much sums her up.
6. “Maybe if you actually had to work for a living, you’d be hungry enough to be here first.”
One of Velez's harsh slights at Turbay.
7. “If I’m good at anything it’s protecting my reputation.”
Self preservation is Velez's motivator.
8. “Betrayal is not my style.”
At least not on purpose.
9. “Do you think I want to be locked up, waiting all day at the Monaco building?”
Here, Velez makes it clear that she does not want to be Escobar's wife. She just shouldn't have said that last part ...
Images: Daniel Daza/Netflix (2), Screengrab/Netflix (3)