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Pablo Escobar Gaviria

pablo escobar gaviriaI am sure you have heard about the famous Pablo Escobar Gaviria in your live. The first thing that comes to our minds when hearing his name is the image of that drug trafficker who has the appointment of Colombia’s biggest drug trafficker and one of the most bloodthirsty criminals in the twentieth century.

Pablo Escobar was born into a peasantry and strictly religious family on December 1, 1949 in Rionegro, in a small town about 40 kilometers from Medellín, Colombia. It measured 1.67 meters of height. He was the third of seven brothers. He was the leader of the so-named and bloodthirsty Medellin Cartel. Escobar Dies on December 2, 1993.

¿Who was Pablo Escobar?

From childhood his intention to make money was overwhelming, he did any kind of business to be able to obtain his own fortune. His mother said that his leadership over his colleagues was a highlight, when he arrives in high school he meets with his cousin and study partner Gustavo Gaviria Rivero, carrying out small businesses that were very successful among their classmates like selling exams, swap comics, raffles and even lent money at low interest. His capacity for trade and business was surprising.

In 1969, Pablo Escobar graduated from high school and immediately obtained a place to study at the School of Economic of the University of Medellín. However, Escobar opted to leave his university studies and dedicate himself to his “personal” business.

¿Who was Pablo Escobar’s Family?

Escobar, unlike many drug lords, had only one wife, Victoria Eugenia Henao Vallejo “La Tata”, with whom he married on March 29, 1976 and despite being unfaithful to her countless times, he only had children with her. On February 24, 1977 is born his first-born Juan Pablo Escobar and on May 24, 1984 would be born his daughter Manuela Escobar Henao.

pablo escobar and family

In 2009 a young Costa Rican claimed to be Pablo Escobar’s son, resulting from a relationship maintained by the narco with a woman in Costa Rica. Escobar’s relatives denied the news, saying that everything was a lie.

¿How did Pablo Escobar Begin in the Drug Trafficking?

Once he retires from the university, Pablo Escobar begins a criminal life at the age of 21, quite pronounced in Medellín, where he was already known to belong to a gang of thieves who used to steal cars, as well as smuggling.

By that time, the business of cocaine smuggling into the United States was imminent, and Pablo Escobar was rather interested in a future business. He was not mistaken at all, the drug trade ended up being very prosperous for him and his environment because of the incredible amounts of money he generated.

pablo escobar

He began his obscure career in the world of drugs at the age of 22 working with his cousin for the smuggler Alfredo Gómez López, both being a kind of bodyguard that covered the large trucks of narcotics that came to the city. Pablo Escobar was characterized by a rather aggressive attitude, however, he knew how to control that aggressiveness in extreme situations and never let himself be tempted by the merchandise that he trafficked.

In his first years of illicit career, Pablo Escobar becomes “fly”, nickname that is given to the people in charge of placing in front of the trucks and to bribe the security officers to protect his comrades.

¿In What Year did Pablo Escobar Found the Medellin Cartel?

Two years after starting his career in the world of drugs, Pablo Escobar is already known throughout Colombia as one of the biggest smugglers of cocaine. In 1976 he built his own cocaine processing laboratories and in that same year he formed the Medellín Cartel, becoming his leader and becoming one of the most powerful cocaine cartels in the world.

Since then, the true imminence of his criminal career begins. The Medellin Cartel controlled at that time approximately 80% of the cocaine traffic entering the United States.

¿How Much Was Pablo Escobar’s Fortune and What Were His Luxuries?

Escobar consolidates a gigantic fortune product of the sale of drugs in the world, which for the day of his death amounted to approximately 30,000 million dollars.

With so much money and a great success in his business around the world, Escobar became an eccentric possessor of numerous luxuries and vanities, generating numerous legends and stories that could only be carried out with a fortune of that magnitude, such as burning 1 million of dollars to warm his son or wasting 2.5 billion dollars a month.

pablo escobar luxuries

On one occasion her daughter Manuela asked for a unicorn as a Christmas present. Escobar, always demonstrating his unconditional love for his children, acceded to the whim of the little girl and ordered several of his men to buy a horse of the finest breed and to introduce a bull horn to his skull.

Manuela was the happiest girl with her unicorn, however, the horse died after few days due to the injury caused by the horn. During several Christmas days Escobar would repeat this same story.

Hacienda Napoles

In 1978, he acquired 7,300 acres in an area near Medellín, where he paid an amount of 50 million euros for the purpose of building a huge house. And this is how it is consecrated “Hacienda Napoles”, one of the most millionaire places in the world where even a zoo was built.

hacienda napoles

This place becomes a truly interesting place for the villagers of the adjacencies to see everything that houses. This house was a “fortress” for Pablo Escobar, since it was always guarded by his security guards and it was also a place where eccentric parties were held with many teenagers.

Escobar was a fanatic of having sexual relations with young ladies and in spite of having married when he was 25 years old with a 15 years old girl, he was not repressed to have these wild parties behind the walls of his property.

¿How did Pablo Escobar Begin in Politics?

Somehow Escobar wanted to cover up his illicit drug business. In this way he decides to enter the world of politics having a great acceptance by the local inhabitants of the town where he grew up. However, many rival politicians were not happy with his actions accusing him of being populist.

pablo escobar and politics

In spite of everything, in 1982, he manages to consolidate as congressman by the party “Alternativa Liberal”. Pablo Escobar manages to carry out many works of charity during his time as a politician, building residential buildings and football fields in poor areas, but all paid with drug money.

The End of His Political Career

This was one of his biggest mistakes. The Minister of Justice of Colombia, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, presents evidence that determines Escobar’s relationship with drug trafficking and drug financing. Immediately this happens to be national news and to be on everyone’s lips.

pablo escobar ends of his political carreer

Escobar seeks to defend his image by claiming that Lara Bonilla would have received funding for his campaign from a drug trafficker named Evaristo Porras, but this was no use since the newspaper “El Espectador” later published an article about an arrest that would have suffered Escobar long ago for cocaine trafficking.

From then on, Pablo Escobar officially became a drug trafficker for public opinion, which led to his removal from Congress in 1983, as well as the cancellation of his US visa.

Murders and cruelty

Part of the great success of Pablo Escobar is due to his excess of aggressiveness and cruelty that lashed out against many people whom he did not hesitate to assassinate.

Anyone who opposed his reign of cocaine was sent to the next world without thinking twice. These victims included prosecutors, police, judges, politicians and even military personnel. He had at his disposal an army of 3000 men ready to give his life for his employer.

Lara Bonilla had won her demonstration by making Pablo Escobar to be seen in a bad way by many people, however, that action cost his life since in 1984, he is shot dead inside his car.

Escobar’s cruel actions had no limits. In 1989, he attempts on General Miguel Alfredo Maza Marquéz’s life, ordering the implantation of half a kilo of dynamite near the building of the Administrative Department of Security, causing the death of 63 people and more than 500 injured.

Also that same year, he orders the explosion of an airplane of the company Avianca, this time attempting on presidential candidate Cesar Gaviria’s life. A total of 107 people lost their lives.

By that time, justice directly and indirectly attributed to him the death of a total of 12,000 people including 540 police.

Persecution by the United States

Pablo Escobar was one of the most difficult criminals that the DEA of the United States has faced. In 1979, they request that the Colombian narcos that had committed offenses in their borders are extradited and tried in their country. Despite the fact that this law was initially approved, the whole wave of violence caused by Escobar and his men, forces the Colombian state to annul the measure.

How was the Entrance of Pablo Escobar in the Prison “La Catedral”?

The current president Cesar Gaviria, in an attempt to end so much bloodshed, enters negotiations with Escobar, where the government should meet 2 main requirements and in return he would surrender to justice to pay for all the crimes committed. The 2 requirements were:

  • Firing Miguel Alfredo Maza Márquez as director of DAS
  • To convene a constituent assembly to change the constitution and eliminate article 35, that allowed the extradition of Colombians to the United States of America.

pablo escobar in prison

After fulfilling both requirements, on June 19, 1991, Escobar enters the prison “La Catedral”, a building chosen by him for his imprisonment, since he was in an area that he controlled and if he needed to escape, he would not have many problems in emerging victorious.

Luxuries Inside La Catedral

La Catedral, was anything but a prison, the guards inside it were Pablo Escobar’s men, dressed in guards uniforms and armed.

Around the jail, there was an electrified mesh with 10,000 volts, and the blade that activated, it was in Escobar’s cell.

Pablo Escobar's Prison Cell
Pablo Escobar’s Prison Cell

The cells were super-luxurious rooms, there was a gym, a soccer field, a pool table, a nightclub, a sauna, they celebrated parties in the same style as they did on their hacienda. Escobar used a double bottom van to introduce all kinds of weapons, liquors, women, etc.

Escobar continued delinquing as he did when he was free, continued to handle the Medellin Cartel from within, including ordering deaths of his enemies, it was a crime bureau.

¿Why Did Pablo Escobar Kill his Partners Fernando Galeano and Kiko Moncada?

Escobar was a man very rich in properties, however, while he was inside the jail, the police attacks his infrastructure of production of cocaine, reason why he was low of cash (the cash is vital since this is how they pay to the assassins and bribes).

Pablo asks for financial help to his partners Fernando “El Negro” Galeano and Gerardo “Kiko” Moncada. They agreed to send him 500,000 dollars a month while the narco was strengthened again. After several months Galeano and Moncada decide to send only 50 million pesos, which was not well received by Escobar who orders to give the money back.

Casually, a worker of AKA “El Chopo” Escobar’s hitman, finds 23 million dollars in a “cove” of Moncada and takes them. Moncada and Galeano visit Escobar, suspecting that they have something to do with the robbery of their money, which Escobar denies.

Pablo later finds out that his hitman is actually in possession of that money and warns him that Moncada and Galeano are going to murder anyone who has taken it from them, and also gives him two options:

  • Keeping the money and defend himself against Moncada and Galeano.
  • To give 18 of the 23 millions to Escobar and he would defend him from Moncada and Galeano. The hitman chose this option.

At this point, Escobar was aware that Moncada and Galeano were collaborating with the Cali cartel, for which he summoned them to the jail where he ordered their deaths. They are killed, dismembered and burned.

Thus the few who remained supporting Escobar, seeing how he murdered two of his greatest partners, did not hesitate to stand against him and join the Cali Cartel. Together with the Castaño Gil brothers, they form “Los PEPES”, which means “Persecuted by Pablo Escobar” and do not rest until they put an end to the drug trafficker.

¿How Did Pablo Escobar Brake Out from the Prison La Catedral?

The press discovered all the luxuries with which Escobar lived, and the Government had no choice but to order his transfer to another prison.

The Bogota army arrives to the area and orders the police who guarded the prison to withdraw, as they were supposedly bought by Escobar, and they remain in control of the situation. This was a serious mistake as none of them possessed knowledge of the area.

Escobar warns his men that at 11 o’clock at night they would flee because at that time the fog covered the prison and it would be very difficult for the army to follow the trail.

prison la catedral
La Catedral

So on July 21, 1992, Escobar, along with his brother Roberto Escobar and nine of his men escaped from prison. They came out from the back of the narco cell by kicking a wall that had been built with plaster instead of cement purposely in case of this situation.

Pablo and his bandits went down the mountain in the direction of Envigado, until arriving at a farm of a friend of the boss. It was so perfect the escape that by the time of arriving at the farm everything was dark due to rationing of light and no one saw them enter.

All this represented one of the most embarrassing chapters for the Gaviria government, which was totally discredited before the international opinion. Consequently, he decides to create the so-called Search Block, a special group made up of more than 500 men from the National Police, the army and the DEA of the United States in order to catch and end once and for all the criminal organization.

¿How did Pablo Escobar die?

The boss was a man who did not believe in technology. Many times after his escape the authorities managed to locate him thanks to phone calls that he made, however, the narco always managed to flee.

At the end of November of 1993, he was living in a house of two plants in Medellín along with his hitman Álvaro de Jesús Agudelo AKA “The lemon”.

Concerned by his family who had been returned from Germany where they were not allowed to enter and were living in a hotel room protected by the government, on December 2, 1993, he managed to communicate with them through a telephone call which lasts 22 minutes, enough time for the search block to locate him.

pablo escobar's funeral

Already with his location, they proceed with the hunt. Escobar managed to reach the roof of the house where he planned to escape, but in that place he is shot in the head with an R15 rifle and he does not survive.

There are different theories about Escobar’s death, among them:

  • He was shot by a Sniper from Los Pepes group.
  • Fulfilling his precious phrase of “I prefer a grave in Colombia than a dungeon in the United States” he committed suicide by a shot in the head.
  • He was shot by Colonel Hugo Heliodoro Aguilar, who was the leader of the group that came to his house. This version is corroborated by Escobar’s former hitman and lieutenant, John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez AKA “Popeye”.

Thus closed the chapter of who was the most powerful drug trafficker in the world, which succeeded in bringing a country to its knees. Surprisingly Escobar’s death was mourned by thousands of people.

¿How Much Was The Reward for Pablo Escobar?

There were many rewards offered by the Colombian state and the United States for information that would lead to the capture of the narco.

In Colombia:

    • On August 26, 1989, President Virgilio Barco Vargas offered a reward of 100 million pesos, equivalent to 250,000 dollars for the time, after the assassination of Luis Carlos Galán.
    • On January 16, 1990, the reward for Escobar increases to 200 million pesos – 450,000 dollars for the time, after he ordered diverse attacks and the placement of multiple bombs.
    • On July 23, 1992, President Cesar Gaviria offered 1,000 million pesos – 1,300,000 dollars for the time, after Escobar escaped from prison.
    • On September 28, 1992, the reward increases to 2.700 million pesos – 4 million dollars for the time.
    • On February 2, 1993, the Colombian government would increase the reward for Escobar to 5,000 million pesos – 6,700,000 dollars for the time.

In United States:

  • On February 19, 1985, they offer a reward of 500,000 dollars, that is equivalent to 40 million pesos for the time, just after the pilot Barry Seal’s death
  • On August 15, 1992, the US government offered a reward of 2 million dollars.

¿What Happened to Pablo Escobar’s Family After his Death?

15 days after Escobar’s death, his brother Roberto Escobar AKA “The Little Bear” is victim of an attack. He received a letter with a bomb inside, that left him blind of an eye.

Juan Pablo visits him in the hospital to ask for help, since it is known that when a great narco dies, their enemies murder their relatives. Roberto gives him a card from a DEA agent. Juan Pablo has an interview with him, but he does not get any help.

Pablo Escobar's Family
Pablo Escobar’s Family

After days, Escobar’s wife and childres are interviewed by the leaders of the Cartel of Cali, they commit themselves to pardon their life as long as they surrender all their possessions, which included works of art, vehicles, cash and other properties, since they needed to recover all the money invested in Escobar’s death.

After being stripped of most of their belongings, they simply wanted to remake their lives in another country, but no one helped them. No country wanted to receive them and they were denied the possibility of buying a plane ticket.

The Drug Lord Family Gets Out of Colombia

Thanks to the help of a lawyer, they managed to change their identities and travel to Argentina, where they currently reside. Juan Pablo Escobar became Juan Sebastian Marroquín, Victoria Henao became María Isabel Santos Caballero and Manuela Escobar was renamed Juana Manuela Marroquín.

After 5 years living in anonymity in Argentina, an accountant ripped them off. They went to the authorities, however, the accountant defense strategy was to reveal Escobar’s relatives true identities and accuse them of money laundering. Thanks to the weight of bearing that surname, Juan Pablo spent 45 days in jail and his mother 2 years, until her innocence is proven.

Where is Escobar’s Family Now?

Nowadays his wife and children live in Argentina. Escobar’s wife studied interior design as well as other careers, Juan Pablo became an architect and wrote 2 books, “Pablo Escobar, My Father” and “Pablo Escobar, What My Father Never Told Me“.

juan pablo escobar books
Juan Pablo Escobar

Roberto Escobar converted the house where Pablo lived his last days in a museum, where for 50 dollars you have access to 30 minutes. He charges 5 dollars for an autograph and about $ 6,000 for an interview.

Pablo Escobar’s Family is Accused of Money Laundering

On October 19, 2017,  different newspapers around the world published the news that Pablo Escobar’s family was related to money laundering.

Basically what happened was that, there was a Colombian drug trafficker named Piedrahita Ceballos who wanted to launder his money in Argentina, for this he associated himself with an Argentine businessman and lawyer named Mateo Corvo Dolcet, and he was in charge of laundering Ceballos’ money.

Pablo Escobar wife
Isabel Santos, Pablo Escobar wife

Since 2008, he would have laundered a total of among 10 to 15 million dollars. According to Corvo Dolcet, he had no idea that Ceballos was a drug trafficker.

The names of Escobar’s relatives came to light, when they conducted a raid on Corvo Dolcet’s house, and they obtained a contract signed by Escobar’s wife and son, which stipulated that the employer had to pay a commission of 4.50% for introducing to him a Colombian (Piedrahita Ceballos) to invest their money in Argentina.

According to the director of the financial information unit, he does not believe that Escobar’s widow has acted only as an intermediary, but he thinks that part of the money that was laundered belonged to them, since Piedrahita Ceballos was apparently a very good friend of Pablo Escobar.

The Myth of Pablo Escobar Nowadays

Today, the myth of Pablo Escobar is more alive than ever, especially for all television series and films that have been made directly and indirectly related to him.

escobar the drug lord
Escobar, The Drug Lord

Among the most famous we can highlight:

  • Escobar, The Drug Lord. It is an original television series by Caracol Televisión, released on May 28, 2012. The character of Pablo Escobar is played by Andrés Parra.
  • Narcos. Web series by Netflix, released on August 28, 2015. Wagner Moura is in charge of playing Pablo Escobar. It consists of 2 seasons of 10 episodes each.