These words can fully describe a specific cruel nature of the era of violence which devoured the world during the 70th – 80th years of the 20th century. That was a dark time full of blood, grief and tears. One of the main devils that terrorized the society of those years was extremism and drug traffic. These two severe and powerful monsters were born out of the economic crisis, social malaise and political insecurity. Young people felt the spirit of all-permissiveness. There appeared a new social trend called “hippies”. Those people were propagandizing closeness to nature; relations free from responsibility and a life free from the law. Those were the new thesis of modern life which bore a concealed truth about drugs, prostitution and crime under its meaning.
Drug use in the United States peaked in 1979, when one in ten Americans admitted that he or she regularly used drugs. Around the beginning of the 1980s, the country sharply increased cocaine consumption – previously it had been very expensive and not available to most addicts. However, the mafia structures in Colombia at that time were able to understand the perspectives of the coca market, and dramatically increased production of this drug. As a result, the “Medellin Cartel” was built – perhaps, the most powerful structure in the world of drugs production and sale.
At this very time, a new figure comes to the arena of the world drug traffic. He is called the Colombian drug lord, the king of the drug industry, Robin Hood of poor and deprived Colombians and at the same time one of the most cruel and merciless tyrants of that period. His name is inscribed in the history of Colombia in letters of blood. He is Pablo Escobar, a man who changed the life of thousands of people.
Pablo Escobar lived a short life full of ups and downs, love and death, fortune and loneliness. He was born in 1949, in Antioquia, Colombia, started his criminal career as a thief and later in 1970s organized one of the most powerful drug cartels which controlled over 80% of all drugs that were imported into the United States of America at that time. He was extremely popular among poor people of Colombia gaining their commitment by charitable deeds, and alongside was one of the most heartless extremists of his time who took lives of more than one thousand of police officers, several dozens of journalists, about two hundred judges, a justice minister, an attorney general and three presidential candidates of Columbia. He was killed in 1993 by the Colombian security forces just the next day after his 44th day of birth.
“MEDELLIN, Colombia — Pablo Escobar, one of the world’s most wanted men, died in a rooftop shootout with police and soldiers Thursday after reigning for a decade over a ruthless global cocaine empire. His hideout exposed by traced phone calls, Escobar was killed in Medellin, the industrial city that served as the base for his trafficking network.” This news was published on the 3rd of December, 1993 in Chicago Tribune.
One day earlier. Pablo was sitting in one of his safe houses in Medellin and preparing for a call to his son. That was his last try to renew the authority in the Colombian society. His son had found a journalist who wanted to write a positive article about Pablo and he had to answer 60 questions by phone. The time came, and Pablo took the receiver. The voice of his son sounded softly and soothingly; Pablo felt like ten years ago being strong and powerful, able to guard his family against anybody and anything. Pablo was answering questions one by one, and behind the room’s door there were already standing the soldiers of the Colombia security forces. His house was encircled, but not for Pablo. Being a warrior for the whole his life Pablo decided to struggle till the end. He jumped out of the window and rushed to the roof. He shot back as he could, but the forces were unequal. Escobar was morbidly confident in his strength and invulnerability till the last breath. His bullet found him at last. Pablo Escobar, the most powerful man in Columbia was finally gunned down. He was lying on the roof barefoot, in a puddle of blood, abandoned by all his companions, helpless and dead. The lord of drugs would never be alive. That was the end. Still what was the beginning?
Pablo Escobar was born on the 2nd of December 1949 into a poor family of a teacher and a peasant. Pablo was a clever boy and started showing leader’s nature rather early. He went to school, though studying was of now interest for him. Pablo soon realized that money and power were the consequent links of one chain. He left school and his life of crime began.
The first business, which brought Escobar to the new horizons, was stealing of tombstones and selling them to Panamanian smugglers. That was a symbolic period of Escobar’s life. It showed his contempt for death, so what could be said about people. It seemed nothing could frighten that daring guy, neither devil nor death. So, that was his life credo.
In 1970 Pablo Escobar managed to enter the cocaine trade business. He was young and full of energy, ambitious and fearless. “His ambition and ruthlessness amid the cocaine trade would make him one of the wealthiest, most powerful and most violent criminals of all-time. Under his leadership, large amounts of coca paste were purchased in Bolivia and Peru, processed, and brought to the United States. Escobar collaborated with five or six other illegal entrepreneurs from the Medellin area, forming the infamous Medellin Cartel.”
Pablo Escobar became the godfather of the Colombian drug traffic. He started collaboration with several other illegal and powerful entrepreneurs dealing in Medellin region and later organized the “Medellin Cartel”. That was a new way of performing drug business. Pablo Escobar became an architect of the drug industry in Colombia. He was the first who invented a new way to transfer drugs to the United Stated and cash back to Colombia. Pablo bought a small Learjet which he used as a transfer for his illegal deals. Later Pablo Escobar would place this jet over the gates of his eight-square-mile estate called “la Hacienda Nápoles”. That was a symbol of his fortune and power.
“Escobar initially worked for other drug traffickers until 1975 when a big Medellin cocaine trafficker named Fabio Restrepo was murdered, reportedly on Escobar’s orders. All Restrepo’s men were told they were now working for Pablo Escobar. From this base, Escobar took over the entire drug trade in Medellin, establishing what became the Medellin Cartel. Over time he came to control over 80% of the drug trade to the United States, building his reputation for violence as he did so. He was known not only for killing rivals and opponents – and even their families – but for personally executing uncooperative subordinates.”
Pablo Escobar was strong in his business and happy in family life. In 1976, Pablo married an underage Maria Victoria. She was 15 at that time and gave birth to two children, a daughter and a son. Pablo Escobar loved his family with all his heart. It is difficult to judge to which extent a tyrant’s heart can lobe, but the doubtless fact is that Escobar tried to protect his family till the last days of his life. His family was his strength and his Achilles’ heel at one and the same time. Shortly after his marriage Pablo Escobar and several of his men were arrested. The policemen, who arrested them, were killed under strange circumstances, the judge, who had to impose a sentence, disappeared and all the documents related to this case were lost inside the police department. Escobar did not get into the prison and managed to escape from law for the next 15 years.
Pablo Escobar was ambitious and wanted to try himself on the political arena. In 1982, he was successfully elected to the Congress of Colombia, though his relatedness to the drug business got out and Pablo had to call time on his career as a politician. He understood very quickly that being behind the curtain is more convenient and effectively.
Pablo Escobar was never afraid of law. He managed to buy of frighten almost all the representatives of law and policy in Colombia. His favorite proposition for those was “plata o plomo” which meant “silver or lead” or “money or bullet”. Those who refused from money got a bullet quicker than they could understand what was going on. Pablo Escobar was a natural born killer. His list of victims is as long as his life.
Pablo organized death of 12 judges who were eager to vote for extradition of the drug dealers to the United States. Escobar was afraid of extradition because he had no power in the US and that was out of his plan. So, he decided to solve the problem by killing judges. He said once that it is better for him to lie in a grave in Colombia than to stay in prison in the United States.
The same fate befell three candidates for the presidency of Colombia. Some of them had very perspective programs aimed to end up with the drug business in Colombia. Later, after the President of Colombia together with the US Forces announced three million dollars reward for Pablo Escobar’s head, he made his own list of rewards for each killed policemen which was personally signed and authorized by his fingerprint.
Still those were not the most violent deeds of Escobar. On the 27th of November, 1989 one of the most skillful Escobar’s assassins put a bomb onboard of the Avianca commercial flight 203, he wanted to get rid of five witnesses who had to testimony against him in court, and, as a result, 110 innocent people were killed. Later another terrible act of terrorism was performed by Escobar’s men. They had to put a car with 150 kilograms of explosives near the Congress Hall, but the amount of policemen scared the mobs and they left their car near a bookstore in which there were a lot of children with their parents. Twenty people were dead, and fifty got to the hospital. Escobar was furious because killing children was too much even for such a heartless murder as he. Though, the deed was done, and it destroyed his reputation among the society.
There appeared a group of law and order avenger called “Los Pepes”. They were killing Escobar’s men on all the territory of Colombia. “Los Pepes were a vigilante group that sprung up in 1990. “Pepe” stands for Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar – Persecuted by Pablo Escobar. They were most likely headed by relatives of the Medellin cartel figures killed at La Catedral, financed by the Cali Cartel, and it’s generally accepted that Colombian police and the Search Bloc made up much of the rank and file.” To save his life and protect his family Pablo Escobar had to make a deal with the government.
He promised to stay in prison for four years, and the government had to cancel the extradition order and protect his family from “Los Pepes”. The President of Colombia gave his consent, and the deal was accomplished. Escobar built “La Catedral Prison” which mainly resembles a palace with luxurious rooms, all communication means, football field and other facilities. His friends and family often came to visit him, and he also could leave his prison any time he wanted. That resembled more a joke than a real act of law. The end for the government’s patience was put after Escobar killed two of his companions right inside the prison. The President sent soldiers to transfer Escobar to the military prison, but he managed to escape and hide from the law. That was a beginning of the end which came several years later.
Escobar had less power and no reliable people. Colombian and American forces were hunting him. His family was in danger because of “Los Pepes”. Escobar was painted into a corner, and there seemed no way out. His last deal seemed to be with his own conscience. He gave his last interview where he said that if there had been such a possibility to change his past he would not have done a lot of wrong things.
Escobar made his last attempt to save his family by sending it to Germany, but German government sent them back to Colombia straight from the airport. Escobar was detected by American soldiers when he was talking with his son by phone. He was killed on the 2nd of December, 1993 just the next day after his 44th birthday.
Two thousand people came to his funeral. Some of them were happy because the “evil of Colombia” was in grave, though the most of the people were crying and mourning. “To chants of “Viva Pablo!” thousands of mourners crowded a muddy hilltop cemetery today to bury Pablo Escobar Gaviria. A ruthless cocaine baron to the outside world, Colombia’s most wanted criminal was a folk hero to many poorer residents of Medellin’s tough hillside shantytowns.”
Pablo Escobar had 44 years of strange, powerful and restless life. He lived in fortune and brought sorrow to thousands of families. He was killing anyone who interfered with his fantasy. He was called both a Robin Hood and a violent assassin. Who know what the truth of his nature was. It is evident that his charity was only a desire to win the support of poor people who were his eyes and ears inside Colombia. He was never really interested in those people and was ready to kill them for a slightest fault. He was building hospitals and schools during the day, and at night he was killing people.
His fortune was enormous. The Forbs journal put him among the richest people of the world. Escobar could buy anything and anyone, but at the end he did not manage to buy life and safety for him and his family, as behind each great fortune stands a great crime. Pablo Escobar left the arena of the drug industry, but the cocaine’s way through the world’s valley of people destinies was just starting to pick up its steam.