However, in order to fully appreciate the famous TV show, certain background and current events are provided here.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was a Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist. He was the creator and single commander of the Medellin Cartel. He was also a member of the FARC (Fuerza Armada de Colombia). While his drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, Pablo Escobar became known as “The King of Cocaine.” Escobar is considered the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US$30 billion by the time of his death, which is equivalent to $ billion as of. He was given the nickname “The King of Cocaine.”
Escobar was born in Rionegro and raised in Medellin, where he briefly attended the Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana before dropping out to pursue a life of crime. He became involved in the distribution of counterfeit lottery tickets, the sale of illegal cigarettes, and the theft of motor vehicles. He started kidnapping and detaining individuals for ransom in the early 1970s for a variety of drug smugglers.
In 1976, Escobar built the first smuggling routes into the United States and launched the Medelln Cartel, which disseminated powder cocaine. Since Escobar’s arrival in the United States stoked an already raging cocaine addiction, experts believe that he personally oversaw the importation of 70 to 80 tons of cocaine per month from Colombia throughout the 1980s. As a result, he became one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet very rapidly, but his constant war with rival cartels at home and abroad resulted in massacres and the deaths of police officers, judges, townspeople, and influential politicians, turning Colombia into the murder capital of the world.
As a member of the Liberal Alternative organization, Escobar was elected as a member of the House of Representatives’ alternates in the 1982 election. This made him popular with the residents of the communities he visited since he oversaw communal initiatives like building houses and football fields. Nonetheless, the Medelln Cartel fell apart after Escobar was reviled by the Colombian and American governments, and he was slain by Colombian National Police in his hometown on the day after his 44th birthday in 1993.
While many people condemn the heinousness of Escobar’s actions, many in Colombia saw him as a “Robin Hood-like” character for providing services to the needy. His death was mourned, and over 25,000 people showed up for his burial. Hacienda Nápoles, his private estate, has been turned into a theme park, and he has received both acclaim and criticism for bringing hippopotamuses to Colombia. His life has also been the subject of dramatizations in cinema, television, and music.
In All Seriousness, Pablo’s Life
In Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia, on December 1, 1949, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria entered the world. He was born to elementary school teacher mother Hilda de Los Dolores Gaviria Berro and farmer father Abel de Jess Dari Escobar Echeverri.
Escobar is said to have started his criminal career as a youngster in the adjacent city of Medelln by stealing gravestones and sanding them down to resell to local smugglers. Roberto Escobar, his brother, disputes this, saying that he has a cousin who owns a monuments company and that the gravestones came from cemetery owners whose clients had ceased paying for site upkeep. Eventually, Escobar became involved in many criminal activities with Oscar Benel Aguirre, including petty street scams, selling contraband cigarettes, fake lottery tickets, and stealing cars. His son, Sebastián Marroquin, claims that his father’s foray into crime began with a successful practice of selling counterfeit high school diplomas. Before being involved in the drug trade, Escobar was a robber and bodyguard in the early 1970s. He reportedly made $100,000 in ransom by kidnapping a Medelln CEO. To achieve his boyhood goal of amassing COL $1 million by the time he turned 22, Escobar went to work for Alvaro Prieto, a contraband smuggler who operated around Medelln.
The distribution of “coca”
Roberto Escobar reveals the story of Pablo Escobar’s meteoric rise from poverty and anonymity to prominence and money in his book The Accountant’s Story. In 1975, Pablo began expanding his cocaine enterprise by sending out planes many times along smuggling routes to the United States. According to Pablo’s son, a close friend of Pablo’s was killed when one of his planes crashed during landing after Pablo had purchased fifteen larger planes, including a Learjet and six helicopters. Pablo pieced together the plane from the wreckage and displayed it proudly at the entrance to his Hacienda Nápoles ranch.
While returning to Medelln from Ecuador with a large shipment in May 1976, Escobar and many of his men were apprehended and found in possession of white paste. Before the case against him was even formed, Pablo sought to bribe the judges in Medellin. He had the two arresting cops killed after months of legal fighting, and the charges against him were eventually withdrawn. This is when, according to Roberto Escobar’s account, Pablo first began a habit of bribing or killing law enforcement officials.
According to Roberto Escobar, Pablo entered the drug trade when transporting other illegal goods became too risky. To Pablo, the absence of drug cartels and the presence of only a few of drug lords made the area ripe for conquest. Pablo would purchase the cocaine paste in Peru and bring it to a lab in a two-story house in Medellin, where it would be processed. Pablo’s first journey was marked as the first step in the expansion of his empire since he purchased a little amount of powder. At initially, he concealed the drugs in used airplane tires; depending on the amount, a pilot might earn as much as US$500,000 for each flight.
Escobar soon established new smuggling shipments, routes, and distribution networks in South Florida, California, and other regions of the country as the demand for cocaine skyrocketed in the United States. Together with cartel founder Carlos Lehder, he established a new transshipment site on Norman’s Cay, a small island to the southeast of Florida’s mainland. Lehder bought Norman’s Cay, but Escobar didn’t, according to Escobar’s brother. Airstrip, harbor, hotel, residences, boats, and airplanes were all acquired by Escobar and Robert Vesco, and a refrigerated warehouse was constructed specifically for the storage of cocaine. The Medellin Cartel exploited this route as a major smuggling corridor between 1978 and 1982. Escobar’s massive income from this route allowed him to buy land in Antioquia for many million dollars, where he eventually constructed the Hacienda Nápoles. His family and the cartel enjoyed the zoo, lake, sculpture garden, and private bullring he built at their lavish mansion.
At one point, it was thought that between 70 and 80 tons of cocaine were being trafficked monthly from Colombia to the United States. During the mid-1980s, when the Medellin Cartel was at the height of its dominance, it was trafficking as much as 11 tons every flight aboard jetliners to the United States. Roberto Escobar insisted that his brother used not just planes but also two little submarines to move the humongous cargo. Escobar represented the Colombian government during Felipe González’s inauguration ceremony in Spain.
A major percentage of the cocaine entering the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Spain were controlled by the Medelln Cartel, which swiftly made Escobar famous across the world. Coca from Bolivia and Peru replaced coca from Colombia, which was becoming viewed as of worse quality than the coca from the surrounding nations, altering the production method as well. Escobar began collaborating with Roberto Suárez Goméz as demand for more and better cocaine rose, facilitating the spread of the product throughout the Americas, Europe, and rumoredly even Asia.
Besieging the Palace of Justice
Left-wing insurgents from the 19th of April Movement (M-19) are accused of attacking the Colombian Supreme Court in 1985 with Escobar’s support. Half of the Supreme Court judges were killed during the siege, which was in response to the court’s investigation of the legality of Colombia’s extradition pact with the United States. The Colombian government was threatening to deport a gang of cocaine smugglers to the U.S., so they bribed M-19 to break into the Palace and destroy any evidence against them. It was said that Escobar was a member of Los Extraditables. To further avoid extradition of Los Extraditables to the United States for their crimes, hostages were also seized for the purpose of negotiating of their release.
Pablo at the peak of his power
The Medelln Cartel earned more than US$70 million per day at its peak activities. Smuggling 15 tons of cocaine every day, worth more than $500 million, into the United States, the cartel spent more than $1,000 per week on rubber bands to wrap the piles of cash, much of which was stored in their warehouses. Ten percent of the currency had to be written off each year due to “spoilage,” which was caused by rodents sneaking in and nibbling on the notes they could reach.
When asked about the basis of the cocaine trade, Escobar responded, “simple: you bribe someone here, bribe someone there, and you pay a sympathetic banker to assist you get the money back.” In 1989, Forbes magazine assessed Escobar to be one of the world’s 227 billionaires, with a personal net worth of about $3 billion, and his Medelln Cartel controlling 80 percent of the worldwide cocaine market. Escobar is widely regarded as the primary backer of Medelln’s Atlético Nacional, which won South America’s most important football competition, the Copa Libertadores, in 1989.
While considered an enemy of the US and Colombian governments, Escobar was a hero to many in Medellin, particularly the impoverished. He was a natural at public relations, and he strove to build goodwill among Colombia’s underprivileged. He was a lifetime sports aficionado who was responsible for the construction of football fields and multi-sports courts, as well as the sponsorship of children’s football teams. He worked hard to create his Robin Hood image, routinely distributing money through housing projects and other civic initiatives, which earned him widespread acclaim among the residents of the communities he visited. Some Medellin residents frequently assisted Escobar in evading police capture by acting as lookouts, concealing information from authorities, or doing anything else they could to protect him. At the height of his influence, drug traffickers from Medellin and other locations sent Escobar between 20% and 35% of their Colombian cocaine-related revenues, because he was the one who successfully carried cocaine to the United States.
Colombia swiftly became the world’s murder capital as the Colombian gangs battled for control, with 25,100 violent fatalities in 1991 and 27,100 in 1992. This heightened murder rate was spurred by Escobar’s payment of bribes to his hitmen in exchange for killing police officers, almost 600 of whom perished as a result.
His Own Personal Paradise Behind Bars: La Catedral
After Luis Carlos Galán was murdered, the government of César Gaviria took action against Pablo Escobar and the drug gangs. Escobar was eventually induced to surrender by the government in return for a lower sentence and special care during his imprisonment in exchange for his cooperation. Escobar surrendered to Colombian police in 1991, declaring an end to a string of violent activities aimed at pressuring authorities and public opinion. The Colombian Constitution of 1991, which he was referring to when he turned himself in, forbade the extradition of its nationals to the United States. Escobar and other drug lords were accused of having persuaded members of the Constituent Assembly to approve this bill, therefore it was met with opposition. La Catedral, Escobar’s private jail, was outfitted with a football field, a big playhouse, a bar, a jacuzzi, and a waterfall for his enjoyment. On 22 July 1992, the authorities attempted to transfer Escobar to a more traditional jail after media reports surfaced detailing his ongoing criminal activities behind bars. Because of his power, Escobar was able to learn of the plot in advance and successfully escape; he would spend the rest of his life on the run.
Los Pepes and the Search Bloc
Due to Escobar’s eluding capture, the United States’ Joint Special Operations Command, and Delta Force) as well as Centra Spike, a Colombian paramilitary organization, began the search for him. They helped organize and guide the Search Bloc, a special police unit in Colombia formed to track down Escobar. Los Pepes was a vigilante organization that arose as the war between Escobar and the governments of the United States and Colombia continued on and Escobar’s opponents increased in number. His adversaries and erstwhile allies bankrolled the group, which included the Cali Cartel and right-wing paramilitaries commanded by Carlos Castaño. These same people would subsequently provide funding for the Peasant Self-Defense Forces in Córdoba and Urabá. More than 300 of Escobar’s friends, his lawyer, and his family were killed during a campaign of revenge carried out by Los Pepes, and most of the property of the Medellin cartel was destroyed.
When looking for Escobar, members of the Search Bloc and Colombian and American intelligence services may have worked with Los Pepes or doubled as both groups. Some members of the Search Bloc allegedly took part in Los Pepes’ murder squad activities, while others supposedly just shared intel that helped bring down Escobar and his surviving friends. The movie Loving Pablo was based on her book.
Griselda Blanco, a drug distributor, is said to have had an illicit but passionate affair with Escobar. Several entries in her journal attribute the monikers “Coque de Mi Rey” and “Polla Blanca” to him.
Where are his assets?
Once affluent, Escobar built or purchased a number of homes and safe houses, the most famous of which is known as the Hacienda Nápoles. The lavish estate had a colonial structure, a sculpture park, and an extensive zoo stocked with animals from all seven continents. Escobar also intended to build a fortress in the area, modeling it after those in ancient Greece; work on the castle began but was never completed.
Under his own name, Escobar also purchased a house in Miami Beach, Florida, a pink beachfront estate with 6,500 square feet. The government confiscated the four-bedroom estate in the 1980s, despite the fact that it had been erected in 1948 on Biscayne Bay. Eventually, Christian de Berdouare, owner of the Chicken Kitchen fast food franchise, purchased the rundown building in 2014. Later, De Berdouare would employ a documentary film team with expert treasure hunters to scour the building before and after its destruction for any artifacts connected to Escobar or his cartel. Strange holes would be discovered in the walls and floors, and a safe would be missing after being removed from its hiding place on the marble floor.
Escobar also had a big Caribbean retreat on Isla Grande, the largest of the 27 coral cluster islands that make up Islas del Rosario, located near Cartagena. The property, which is now half-demolished and overrun by vegetation and wild animals, had a house, apartments, courtyards, a big swimming pool, a helicopter landing pad, reinforced windows, tiled flooring, and a massive, unfinished structure on the mansion’s side.
Pablo Escobar was killed in a gunfight on 2 December 1993, sixteen months after his escape from La Catedral, after another of his attempts to dodge the Search Bloc. A Colombian electronic surveillance squad directed by Brigadier Hugo Martnez tracked his radiotelephone signals and discovered him hiding in Los Olivos, a middle-class neighborhood of Medellin. With officials closing in, Escobar and his bodyguard, Alvaro de Jess Agudelo, engaged in a gunfight. The two fugitives attempted to flee by running across the rooftops of neighboring homes to a back street but were both shot and killed by Colombian National Police. Roberto Escobar and Fernando Sánchez Arellano, his two brothers, believe he shot himself through the ear. The couple declared in a statement about the matter that Pablo “Did not die because he committed suicide. Throughout the years they pursued him, he would tell me every day that if he was truly trapped with no way out, he would shoot himself through the ear.'”
His death’s aftermath
The rival Cali Cartel controlled the cocaine market shortly after Escobar’s death and the ensuing division of the Medelln Cartel until the mid-1990s when its leaders were either assassinated or detained by the Colombian authorities. The Robin Hood image that Escobar had fostered had a long-lasting impact on Medelln. Many in the city, particularly the impoverished whom Escobar had helped while he was alive, lamented his passing, and over 25,000 people attended his burial. Some see him as a saint and pray to him for heavenly assistance.
Testimony of Virginia Vallejo – His Lover
Virginia Vallejo, a television anchorwoman who was intimately associated with Escobar from 1983 to 1987, delivered her testimony in the prosecution of former Senator Alberto Santofimio, who was convicted of complicity in the 1989 death of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán, on July 4, 2006. Despite the fact that Vallejo notified his office on July 4, Iguarán chose to conclude the trial on July 9, many weeks before the anticipated closing date. The measure was deemed to be too late.
Vallejo was flown to the United States on a special DEA flight on July 18, 2006, for “safety and security considerations” as a result of her assistance in high-profile criminal investigations. RCN Television in Colombia released a video on July 24 in which Vallejo accused Santofimio of inciting Escobar to assassinate presidential candidate Galán. The video was viewed by 14 million people and was crucial in reopening the case of Galán’s killing. Santofimio was sentenced to 24 years in jail for his participation in the crime on August 31, 2011.
The Role of Escobar in the Palace of Justice Siege
Only Vallejo, out of Escobar’s biographers, has provided a comprehensive account of Escobar’s involvement in the Palace of Justice siege of 1985. More than a hundred individuals, including 11 Supreme Court justices, M-19 members, and cafeteria personnel, were killed, and the journalist blamed the army for financing the operation. Many of the incidents Vallejo reported in her book and testimonial were validated by Colombia’s Commission of Truth, which led to the reopening of the case in 2008. These incidents prompted investigators to dig deeper into the siege, which led to the conviction and lengthy prison terms for a former colonel and a former general for their roles in the post-siege forced disappearance of detainees. Later, Vallejo would provide testimony in the murder trial of Galán. Amando a Pablo, odiando an Escobar has accused various politicians, including Colombian presidents Alfonso López Michelsen, Ernesto Samper, and Alvaro Uribe, of having connections to drug gangs. The United States awarded the Colombian journalist political asylum on June 3rd, 2010 because she was receiving death threats and because she was helping with these cases.
What about his relatives?
In 1995, after being unable to get refuge in any other nation, Escobar’s wife, son, and daughter escaped Colombia. Maria remained supportive of Escobar despite his many affairs, however, she did try to persuade him to avoid violence. In order to set an example for their spouses, members of the Cali Cartel reportedly played back recordings of her discussions with Pablo. Although the cartel sought millions of dollars in reparations for Escobar’s struggle against them, they did not kill her and the children after Pablo’s death because of her attitude. Henao was able to bargain for her son’s safety by promising the cartel that he wouldn’t take up retribution or drug dealing.
The family finally landed in Argentina after escaping to that country from Mozambique and then Brazil. Using a fictitious name, Henao built a thriving real estate firm; but, when a business partner learned the truth, she disappeared with all of the profits. After the local media found out that Henao was indeed the widow of Escobar, she spent eighteen months in jail while authorities looked into her money.
Her release came after police were unable to establish a connection between her money and any illicit conduct. When Henao met Escobar, she fell in love, her son claims “The way he looked at me, with his sly grin, was adoring and tender. An excellent romantic partner. The fact that he genuinely cared about others and wanted to see them succeed made an impression on me. We take the car and go to spots where he envisioned schools for the underprivileged being built. He has always been the epitome of gentlemanliness.” Mara Victoria Henao de Escobar, now known as Mara Isabel Santos Caballero, and her two children are still based in Buenos Aires. Both she and her son, Sebastián Marroquin Santos, were charged of money laundering alongside two Colombian drug traffickers by Argentine federal judge Nestor Barral on June 5th, 2018. A court has ordered that $1 million in assets be seized from each defendant.
Sins of My Father, directed by Argentinean director Nicolas Entel, follows Marroquin as he tries to make amends with the families of two deceased Colombian politicians: Rodrigo Lara, the justice minister who was killed in 1984, and Luis Carlos Galán, who ran for president in 1989. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010 and its American premiere on HBO in October of the same year. Using his own name, Marroquin released Pablo Escobar, My Father in 2014. The book gives the author’s first-hand account of his father’s life and the profoundly fracturing impact of his death on the family.
Marroquin wrote the book to clear up any misconceptions about his father’s travels in the 1990s.
Luz Maria Escobar, the drug kingpin’s sister, also made several moves to atone for her brother’s wrongdoings. Public remarks in the press, messages left at victims’ graves, and a public tribute on the 20th anniversary of his death are all examples. After being interred next to his parents for 12 years, Pablo Escobar’s body was unearthed on October 28, 2006, at the request of some of his relatives so that a DNA sample could be taken to establish the purported paternity of an illegitimate kid. After RCN aired a video of the exhumation, Marroquin became enraged and called his uncle Roberto Escobar and cousin Nicolas Escobar “merchants of death.”
After Escobar’s death, the government distributed the Hacienda Nápoles property (ranch, zoo, and citadel) to low-income households in accordance with the Extinción de Dominio statute. There are four five-star hotels on the grounds, all of which look out over the zoo and the theme park that was once here.
Do You Remember How Many Hippopotamuses He Had?
At his estate, Hacienda Nápoles, drug lord Pablo Escobar maintained a private menagerie that included four hippos. They were abandoned on Escobar’s uncared-for estate because they were too tough to remove after his death. There were 16 animals in the region by 2007; they were mostly scavenging in the Magdalena River. Hippos have multiplied in Escobar’s former home of Puerto Triunfo, Antioquia, from the initial four that were there before to a whopping 40 as of early 2014. The population is expected to more than double in the next decade without any sort of management.
Cocaine Hippos is the name of a National Geographic Channel program on these animals. Local environmentalists are trying to safeguard the creatures, but it is unclear what will become of them, according to an article published in a Yale student magazine. In 2018, National Geographic issued an update on the hippo population, reporting that conservationists and locals, especially those in the tourism business, were generally in favor of the hippos’ ongoing existence, although environmentalists were split on the issue.
The demolition of his apartment in 2019
Medellin officials razed the six-story Edificio Mónaco apartment building in the El Poblado district on 22 February 2019 at 11:53 AM local time, where former Colombian general Rosso José Serrano said Escobar plotted some of his most audacious attacks. The house had been constructed for Escobar’s wife, but a vehicle bomb planted by the Cali Cartel in 1988 destroyed it. Since then, it has been empty and become a popular destination for travelers interested in seeing some of Escobar’s physical remains. To remember the hundreds of deaths of the cartels, including four presidential contenders and some 500 police officers, Mayor Federico Gutierrez has been pushing to demolish the structure. Colombian President Ivan Duque hoped that the destruction would indicate that the city had progressed greatly and had more to give than the legacy left by the cartels, saying that it “means that history is not going to be written in terms of the criminals but by acknowledging the victims.”