Pablo Escobar is infamous for being the head of one of the largest cocaine manufacturing organizations in history. His control of the drug underworld involved countless murders ordered by Pablo Escobar himself and has been famously quoted, “Sometimes I am God, if I say a man dies, he dies that same day.” However, the Pablo Escobar story involves a man despised by the United States but loved by his people in Medellin, Colombia.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (Pablo Escobar) was born on December 1, 1949 in Rionegro, Colombia into a poor Colombian farming family. The Escobar family suffered many financial struggles throughout Pablo Escobar’s life that deeply affected him. These life experiences, trials and tribulations inevitably served as one of the driving forces behind Pablo Escobar’s introduction into a life of crime.
It has been reported that Pablo Escobar began his criminal profession stealing gravestones, sanding them down, and reselling them. In David Thompson’s book Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. Pablo Escobar, Drug Baron: His surrender, imprisonment, and escape. He explains how Pablo began as a street level peddler who soon escalated his craft to car theft and low level criminal activity. Eventually, Pablo Escobar began working for a well known contraband smuggler Alvaro Prieto and became a millionaire at the young age of twenty-two (22) due to his drive, motivation, and intelligence. Pablo Escobar was also a member of the Colombian Congress, placed into power by the Colombian Liberal Party to serve as a representative. However, his time as a congress member was riddled with bribery and illegal activity as Pablo Escobar’s Empire continued to grow and gain notoriety worldwide.
This ruthless killer and ingenious entrepreneur was feared by many people. His reputation preceded him and was well deserved. However, Pablo Escobar understood early on that if he wanted his cocaine production business to succeed, the people of his city Medellin, Colombia had to love him. As a boy, he was involved in community civic activities and this need to serve his community continued into adulthood.[ii] As Pablo Escobar accumulated his wealth through his cocaine enterprise, he founded numerous organizations and programs for the homeless and the poor. He spent millions on parks, stadiums, churches, and housing for the people of Medellin. David Thompson’s book Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. Pablo Escobar, Drug Baron: His surrender, imprisonment, and escape. Also explained how Pablo Escobar’s civic efforts were insistence on community pride and in return, the people Medellin beloved Pablo Escobar as a modern day Robin Hood.
Pablo Escobar married Maria Victoria Henao Vellejo in 1976. She was 15 years old at the time of their marriage. It is rumored that Pablo Escobar liked his women under aged and this is evidenced by his several extramarital affairs with girls many years his junior. Maria Victoria had two children with Pablo Escobar and the family lived at their estate, Hacienda Napoles. This luxurious ranch estate housed a zoo and today, the Hacienda Napoles is a famous theme park open to the public.
The 1980’s were the height of Pablo Escobar’s power. This time period marked an era where he controlled the drug market worldwide and also marked the period which Pablo Escobar was at his most dangerous. In addition to murder of Colombian presidential campaign candidate, Luis Galan, Pablo Escobar experienced several run in’s with the law after 1976. However, he continuously escaped unscathed due to his killing of all witnesses that could testify against him. This angered both the United States and the Colombian government and the pressure to arrest and put a stop to Pablo Escobar’s reign escalated.
Experiencing pressure from the United States, the Colombian government began negotiations with Pablo Escobar that would ultimately result in a deal between the two parties.
Pablo Escobar agreed to surrender himself to the Colombian government for a five year term if the Colombian government agreed to house him with preferential treatment in a Prison which Pablo was to build. This prison became known as La Catedral Prison. The Catedral was equipped with amenities such as jacuzzi’s and even a soccer field. Pablo Escobar was to remain there for five years ceasing all of his criminal activity in exchange for protection from extradition for prosecution in other countries.
The Colombian Government soon discovered that Pablo Escobar was utilizing this private prison to continue his cartel criminal activities. The Colombian government sought to move Pablo Escobar to another prison however, upon learning of these plans to relocate him, Pablo Escobar devised his own plan of escape. After Pablo Escobar’s successful escape from the Catedral Prison, the United States began a man hunt for his retrieval. The United States was determined to capture Pablo Escobar dead or alive. Additionally, los Pepes, a group financed by the rival Cali Cartel, also was behind Pablo Escobar’s capture and death.
The search for Pablo Escobar in 1993 ended when the United States forces found him hiding in a middle class neighborhood. A gun fight ensued on the rooftops of the city between the government forces, Pablo Escobar, and his body guard. Many gunshots were fired the men were hit numerous times. The deadly blow that killed Pablo Escobar was a hit to his head between the ears. Pablo was survived by his wife and two children yet his legacy and notoriety lives on.