Narconovelas are a subcategory of Latin American telenovelas and refer to telenovelas that deal with drug trafficking and the fight against it in Latin America. In a narrative way, paired with fictional and cinematic elements, the serial format narrates wars between drug cartels, or drug trafficking and its relationship to local politics. Mostly, it is about the trafficking of cocaine. In the foreground of a narconovela are the drug lords and their drug cartels. The viewer sees the events from the perspective of drug traffickers and can identify with them as well as feel sympathy for them. Supporters of other drug cartels, the family, the police, or paramilitaries play secondary roles. Even though drug trafficking in Colombia and Mexico has already claimed countless victims, the narconovelas contribute to a partly positive image of what is happening. Narconovelas often have an international reach and thus shape the image of the represented countries, such as Mexico or Colombia. Narconovelas have been shown on television in Latin America since the early 2000s. The plot of narconovelas is based partly on facts and real characters but are combined with fictional elements. The genre of narconovela can be classified as an action series, with scenes that show violence, murder, sex, excess, intrigue, and drugs. Common themes of the narconovela also include impunity from prosecution and corruption, as well as a lack of power by the state and society's trust in institutions and politics. Narconovelas show a reality of Latin America that often results from the failure of political institutions: the intervention of criminal organizations.
Examples for Narconovelas: La Reina del Sur (USA, 2011), El Señor de los Cielos (Estados Unidos, 2013)
Find more information about Narconovelas:
- Benavides, Oswald Hugo (2008): Drugs, Thugs, and Divas. Telenovelas and Narco-Dramas in Latin America.
- Contreras Saiz, Mónika (2017): Narcotrafico y telenovelas en Colombia: entre narconovelas y "telenovelas de la memoria". In: Hispanorama (157), Pp. 26 – 31.