A Colombian hit man who has admitted murdering around 300 people and playing a role in the killings of thousands more is now making what he calls "clean money from honest work"—as a YouTube star. Jhon Jairo Velasquez, former chief enforcer for Pablo Escobar's Medellin cartel, has rebranded himself "Remorseful Popeye" and racked up millions of views on a YouTube channel that mixes tales of his violent past with what he describes as a quest for forgiveness, the New York Times reports. Velasquez, 54, was released from prison in 2014 after serving 22 years, and he says starting the YouTube channel, which has more than 100,000 subscribers, was his way of reintegrating into society.
Velasquez tells the Times that he wants to share his stories because he wants to have his opinion heard. "I am an activist. I am against the Venezuelan and Colombian government," he says. "I am against Donald Trump because of his hatred of Latinos." Relatives of his victims have been angered by Velasquez's rise to celebrity, despite his claim that he's trying to steer young people away from a life of crime. "It's a slap in the face for us for him to present himself now as an expert, a consultant, when he hasn't shown any remorse for what he did to us," Gonzálo Rojas tells the Guardian. His father was among 107 people killed in the cartel bombing of an Avianca flight. (Another cartel hit man lived quietly in a small town in Ohio for a decade.)