This project looks at the different perspectives
of Pablo Escobar, who was often considered a type of robin hood. Pablo was a
drug manufacture that changed the face of Columbia in the 80s. We will review 3
main points in his life and the different sides of the events.
Pablo was born December 1 1949 he came from a poor family in ____ Colombia. He had 6 siblings and
an absent father. He started crime at a young age from stealing tombstones to
cars. Even as a child he would tell his friends he wanted to be the president
In 1973 he met his wife Maria Victoria Henao she
was 13 at the time and he was 24. They got married two years later and she
stayed with him until his death.
He started with simple drugs like marijuana and then saw the big
demand for cocaine. In 1975, a local Medellín drug lord named Fabio Restrepo
was murdered, reportedly on the orders of Escobar himself. Escobar took over
Restrepo’s organization and expanded his operations. Before long, Escobar controlled
all crime in Medellín and was responsible for as much as 80% of the cocaine
transported into the United States.
At the beginning he smuggled small amounts of
drugs to Miami, and slowly he began to smuggle amazingly large amounts of
cocaine. At first, he would smuggle through car tires and then pregnant women
he later moved on to flying entire airplanes piloted by Carlos Lehder full of
cocaine to the states. There was a very big demand in Miami for the cocaine he
was supplying. Pablo also began to bride the local cops making his drug
business easier with less people in his way.
He was arrested in 1976 the details of for what are still sketchy.
He tried to bribe the cops but they did not take the bribe. After leaving on bail he had those cops murdered by his ”
sicarios “. His sicarios where his boys they committed murders for him
smuggled drugs brought him coffee in general anything he would ask for.
The business was booming, and he was soon so
rich he had to start hiding his money. He couldn’t take it to a bank, so he
began to bury it and keep it in abonded houses.At the height of his power,
Pablo was making a ridiculous amount of money. It is estimated he made $420
million a week, $22 billion a year. He spent $4,000 a month just on the rubber
bands that held the money. Ten percent of the money he stored in warehouses was
lost due to some rats with expensive taste. Rats nibble on over $2 billion of
Pablo’s money a year. Today people are starting to find his hidden treasure. A
farmer recently found $600 million of Escobar’s cash inside a container.
At around that time Pablo set a bounty of 300K
dollars to whoever killed or kidnapped the DEA agents Steve Murphy and Pena
Javier who were after him .
To many Colombians, Pablo was a saint. He grew up from nothing and
then used his riches to give back to the poor. Pablo is responsible for
building countless schools, hospitals and churches while also funding soccer
teams and leagues. His biggest contribution was in the form of a large housing
For example Barrio Escobar is a neighborhood in Medellin built by
Escobar to further secure loyalty from the poor. The residents in that barrio
still view Pablo with affection because they have a roof over their heads
because of him. He also blew the roof off from lots of other people’s houses,
which is what has the country still divided.
Though this might have all been a front to look
good to the public and help him launder money he did help the poor. Some people
say that it doesn’t really matter what his motives were and where the money
came from because people now have bread on the table.
The first article about Pablo ever published in Colombia was ‘A
Robin Hood paisa'( the local robing hood ) , in April of 1983. This later
helped him get into politics.
Escobar’s biggest fear was extradition.
(Extradition- if he is caught in Colombia he could be put in a jail cell in the
USA). He and his friends used to say______ – better a grave in Colombia than a
cell in the us. because of this fear he decided to get into politics hoping he
could either get a “get out of jail free” card or stop extradition for good.
Rodrigo Lara Bonilla became Colombia’s Minister of Justice in 1983. He took a
strong anti-drug stance and denounced Escobar’s criminal activity in public. He
made sure that Guillermo Cano of the Colombian newspaper El Espectador
published an article with Pablo’s mugshot ( from 1976) this ended his political
career. Escobar didn’t take this easily and Bonilla knew it. Bonilla sent his
family to Texas for protection, but on April 30, 1984, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla was
gunned down in his car by two of Pablo’s sicarios.
The DEA managed to build an entire case around Escobar,
but he sent one of his sicarios to burn all the evidence. This lead to a state
where the government knew how bad Pablo was but couldn’t arrest him or catch
Luis Carlos Galán created the New Liberalism
party in 1979 and declared himself an enemy of the drug cartels. He even
publicly rejected Escobar when he tried to join the New Liberalism party after
learning of his drug involvement. Galán strongly supported extradition and
wanted to send all the drug traffickers ruining Colombia to American jails. He
was universally loved by all Colombians during his presidential campaign.
Escobar brought that to an end with his assassination in 1989.
After Galans assassination Cesar Gaviria began
to run for president of Colombia. Pablo tried to assassin him as well. They
would recruit young people in need of money and give them jobs that were
dangerous .They hired one to blow up Avianca flight in hopes to murder Gaviria
and a few others who where supposed to be on the plane .Gaviria actually flew
on a private jet instead, after being told by Murphy not to board at the last
minute. With the death of 107 innocent passengers, Escobar officially became a
The bombing of Avianca flight 203 wasn’t the
only act of terrorism Escobar committed. From May to December of ’89 there were
175 deaths and 720 injured, along with over 88 car bombs. Escobar did
everything he could to force the government to quit hunting him down for
extradition. He even began kidnapping to up his game.
One of the main kidnappings was Diana Turbay she
was the daughter of ex-Colombian President Julio César Turbay and was a popular
television newscaster and journalist. She used as a negotiation tool to help
him eliminate extradition. Unfortunately, the government handed Escobar his
biggest victory to date when they accidently shot and killed Diana Turbay in a
rescue attempt, although they still deny it.
Despite killing hundreds of innocent women and
children, Pablo loved his own wife and kids and did everything to protect them.
His son, Juan Pablo Escobar, claims his father threatened to kill any of his
men if they even smoked a joint in front of his children. His daughter
once requested a unicorn for her birthday, so Pablo asked his men to hammer a
bull’s horn onto one of his horse’s head. The horse died three days later from
wound infections, but his daughter got her wish. This makes Pablo’s character
even more complex how could such a terrible man be such a caring and loving
father and husband.
Gustavo Gaviria was Pablo Escobar’s cousin and
right hand man. He died at the hands of the Colombian authorities or Elite
Corp, as they were called at the time before they became the Search Bloc. It
happened during a raid of one of the cartel’s luxury apartments. Gustavo just
happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and died at the police
shootout, although Escobar always believed otherwise. Given the state Gaviria
was found in, it is believed he was captured and tortured by police before
being shot in order to cover it up. A heartbroken Pablo couldn’t attend
Gustavo’s funeral and had to listen to it on the radio.
After two years of a relentless bombing
campaign, the government caved in. On June 19, 1991, the Colombian government
prohibited extradition and that same day Pablo turned himself in to the authorities.
Escobar got what he wanted. Even better. He got to serve his prison term in a
prison he designed himself: La Catedral. Built in Envigado at the top of a
winding dirt road positioned perfectly to protect him from his enemies. At the
same time, the U.S. passed a law that DEA and CIA agents could arrest drug
smugglers on foreign soil and bring them back to the U.S. Escobar also chose
this spot because he knew every inch of it. He camped there when he was a kid
and made sure the prison had several escape routes in place in case push came
La Catedral was unlike any prison you’ve ever
seen. It looked like a jail from the outside, but that was just to maintain
appearances. Inside, Escobar decorated it like any drug dealer would. His room
had a circular rotating bed, a 60-inch TV and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi.
Escobar also had a state-of-the-art kitchen, a bar and a nightclub for the
other 14 of his sicario friends who went to prison with him.
The government caught on to the fact that la
catedral wasn’t truly a jail at al and that pablo continued to run his
business. At the time they looked the other way because they rathered he be in
some sort of jail then blowing up the streets.
Fernando Galeano and Kiko Moncada were in charge
of a big chunk of the Medellin Cartel’s finances. They were given one of the
best routes, La Fany, which travelled to Mexico and then to Los Angeles.The
money started to fall short and Pablo had also heard that they were
getting friendly with the Cali Cartel, so when a big chunk of money was found
in one of Kiko’s hideouts, he ordered them to be killed along with their
brothers, bodyguards and drivers. They were tortured, beaten to death and
dismembered so the bodies could be burned in the prison bonfire. Escobar then
called Galeano’s and Moncada’s families and told them what he had done. Moncada
and Galeano’s widows were worried after Escobar killed their husbands at La
Catedral prison. They reached out to the press and made the information public.
Once the government got wind of Escobar’s prison killings and the fact that he
continued to have dominance of his drug operations from within the prison, they
decided they had to end his little party by transferring him to more secure
Escobar of course wasn’t happy about this
transfer. He made a pact with the government that he would end the bombing if
he could stay in his own prison. They feared that he would start bombing again,
so they brainstormed ideas to trick him. They said they had Intel that his
rival, the Cali Cartel, was plotting to kill him. The government hired the
Fourth Brigade of Medellin led by General Ariza to carry out the transfer.
Escobar was skeptical about the idea that the
government wanted to transfer him to a safer prison while they added security
to La Catedral. He asked to speak to high-ranking government officials in person,
so the Vice Minister of Justice came to the prison. His real name was Eduardo
After General Ariza failed to complete orders to
secure the prison, Mendoza entered the prison unarmed and unescorted to negotiate.
Escobar seized the opportunity to snatch guns from his prison guards and take
him hostage along with the national prison director and assistant justice
On July 22, 1992, the Colombian Army stormed the
prison to save Vice Minister of Justice Eduardo Mendoza and they were
successful, but Escobar had already escaped.
The fact that he could just ask some guards to
step aside so he could walk right out of jail seems like the stuff of legends.
Escobar handpicked the guards at La Catedral. They were former bandits handed
blue INPEC prison service uniforms so, when the army came to raid it, he just
took the guards’ weapons and armed himself for war. The prison staff’s
complicity shows the depth of corruption and fear.
President Gaviria had enough when Escobar fled
from prison. Not only was his approval rating dramatically down, but his
leadership was in question from everyone including the Attorney General. He
made a bold statement that he would not negotiate with Escobar. That was always
Pablo’s leverage. He used violence to get his way, but during this manhunt, any
Pablo-initiated tragedies would be considered casualties of war. And this war was
going to end up with Escobar dead.
The government set up a tip line to call if you
know where pablo is. they got many false calls but some truly helped. The cops
often got very close to catching Escobar but he would always run away before
they could catch him .
Pablo was no stranger to killing policemen, but
when his family was being threatened, he retaliated even harder by offering a
$2,000 bounty. During the manhunt, 143 Colombian National police officers were
killed. Many of them were not even involved in the search. It got so bad that
everyone who lived in the building of the Search Bloc leader asked him to move
for fear of being caught in the crossfire. the search bloc continued to hunt
down pablo and his associates they climbed up the later all the way to his tier
one men but they couldn’t manage to catch him.
Los Pepes were a paramilitary vigilante group
made up of enemies of the drug lord, led by Carlos and Fidel Castaño and Don
Berna, along with betrayed family members of Kiko Moncada and Fernando Galeano.
After killing several of Escobar’s sicarios in 1992, they finally decided to
give themselves a name in January 1993, signing their victims off after killing
them. The name was straightforward: Pepes, or People Persecuted By Pablo
After a lot more, bombs and fights and close
calls pablo decided to go under the radar. He hid out for 16 months at first
with his father and later in an abandoned house in Medellin. he would talk to
his family through a family phone that eventually the police managed to wire
and use to track him down.