Pablo cocaine and other narcotics, earning him the
Pablo Escobar: the Colombian drug lord of the 1980’s. Escobar controlled a vast empire of cocaine and other narcotics, earning him the nicknames “Don Pablo” and “El Patrón.” Escobar has revolutionized the drug cartel internationally, since he smuggled drugs from the United States to various other places in Columbia. Escobar’s determination and viciousness made him one of the most legendary drug traffickers of this century due to his power and control over the Colombian government. On December 1, 1949, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was born in the suburbs of Medellín, Colombia. Escobar is a family man, and puts his close relatives and children above anything else. While running away from the authorities, Escobar burned two million dollars in cash in order to keep his daughter Manuela warm from the cold weather. He married María Henao, who was fifteen at the time of their marriage, and had a son named Juan Pablo and a daughter named Manuela. Although he was married, he was known for his extramarital affairs including one with a famous Colombian Television spokesperson named Virginia Vallejo. Escobar had aspirations and huge dreams to become a millionaire by the age of twenty-two. To do this, he became a criminal at a young age and was a street thief, stealing cars and selling them. Eventually, he participated in the Marlboro Wars, which was also known as Colombia’s smuggled cigarette market. This provided Escobar with the guidance and practice to becoming a leader of one of the largest drug cartels there ever was. In the late 1970’s, Escobar realized that drugs were the key to his success and wealth. In the mid 1980’s, Forbes placed Escobar as one of the top ten richest men in the world, with a net worth of twenty-four billion dollars. With his extreme wealth, Escobar participated in philanthropy and built schools, hospitals, and parks all over the city of Medellín. He often times gave out stacks of money to the poor and working class, which earned him the title of the “Colombia Robin Hood.” With the city of Medellín wrapped around his finger, Escobar wanted to become president of Columbia. In 1982, he was elected as an alternate member of the Colombian Congress, but it was short-lived because Escobar was forced to resign when a justice member leaked his background. The justice member was soon murdered by Escobar’s men shortly after the incident. Escobar’s empire and drug cartel was so powerful that the Colombian government had trouble trying to arrest him. Escobar used a system which he called “Plata o Plomo,” which translates to “Silver or Lead.” This was Escobar’s way of getting politicians, policemen, journalists, and lobbyists to be on his side or to eliminate them. The silver meant bribing these authority figures. If bribing them did not work, Escobar would send his men to kill these people and their families. Escobar was extremely ruthless and killed anyone he felt was a threat to his business, including presidential candidates. On November 27, 1989, Pablo planned for there to be a bomb planted on an Avianca plane. The initial target was a presidential candidate named César Gaviria, who wanted to extradite Escobar and send him to a prison in the United States. Gaviria decided to not go on that flight, and the bomb killed 110 innocent people. In 1991, Escobar finally made a negotiation with the Colombian government. If Escobar turned himself in for drug smuggling, he would serve a five year sentence. The only charge that was going to be held against him was drug smuggling, but Escobar refused. Eventually, the government and Escobar came to an agreement where Escobar would build his own prison, later called “La Catedral” and would serve five years. This was not a prison, but a mansion with a soccer field, a full bar, and hot tubs. Escobar chose his own prison guards and any authority figures were not allowed three miles around La Catedral. He carried out his normal business matters in this “prison” and had the most profitable cartel, even though he was incarcerated. Escobar became furious at some of his drug associates, and murdered them while in prison. The Colombian government found out and wanted Escobar to serve his time in a normal prison. Escobar was scared of being caught, and went into hiding in fear of being extradited. During this sixteen month period of Escobar being in hiding, a group called the “Los Pepe’s” formed. “Los Pepes” stood for “People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar” and were funded by a rival drug cartel called the Cali Cartel. This group of people used violence to try to get revenge on Escobar and his people, killing Escobar’s drug associates and destroying his cocaine warehouses. The Search Bloc, a US trained Colombian task force, played a major role in catching Escobar, and eventually caught him with the help of author Colombian authorities. It was originally stated Escobar was killed in a gunfight with the Colombian law enforcement, with his most fatal wound on top of his right ear. This raised suspicion as to if Escobar was really killed or if he committed suicide. He reportedly told his brother he would shoot himself the same place where the gunshot wound was found, so his cause of death is unknown whether he died during a gunfight or that he committed suicide. After Escobar’s death, more than 25000 people came to his burial to honor his works of philanthropy in Medellín. Pablo Escobar left a legacy that many will never forget. Escobar cleverly used his power and success to never be extradited. Escobar has never been to a real prison due to his system of “plata o plomo” and successfully became one of the richest men in the world when he was alive. Although Escobar committed countless crimes other than being a leader of the Medellín cartel, he was never sent to court for his actions. To further his legacy after his death, Netflix created a show called “Narcos” following two U.S. DEA agents on the hunt to kill Escobar and make him pay for his wrongdoings. Pablo Escobar revolutionized the drug cartel by using methods of philanthropy, persuasion, and power to be able to have one of the most successful cocaine businesses in the world.