With the drama on Netflix at the moment named Narcos, this has inevitably provoked interest into 1 of the worlds most dangerous and successful drug lords of all time, Pablo Escobar. The drama portrays the life of the drug baron, from his rise in the narcotics trade, and with his personal life with his wife, 2 children and mother.
Early life of Pablo
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was born on 1st December 1949 in Rionegro,, Columbia. He was the 3rd of 7 children, so came from quite a large family. He grew up in Medellin, which isn't too far from where he was born. He began his criminal career quite early on in life as a teenager. It is reported he stole gravestones which he used to sand down then resell. He was also a petty thief where he used to steal cars. He used to smuggle cigarettes too. So it's quite clear from a very early age he was into crime in a big way. And the more he dipped his toes into the water, the more he wanted.
Pablo & his wife Marie
The drug lord of Columbia.
His rise to power really began in 1975 when the Medellin Drug Cartel began, with Pablo being the boss. By the time the 1980's arrived, the want for drugs was greater, and the drug cartel was in serious business. It is estimated that 80% of the drugs smuggled into the States was from Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel. He was so rich. It is said that in 1989, Forbes magazine listed him as the 7th most richest man in the world. The Medellin Drug Cartel was making $70 million a day on drugs. Escobar was a ruthless man, and if anyone got in his way, they would regret it. He, and his mob, killed an estimated 4000 people, although this number differs with different stories you read and hear. This included rival drug gangs, politicians and people in prominent positions and police. There was no one he wouldn't kill to get what he wanted.
It was in 1982 that Escobar was elected as an alternate member of Columbia's Congress. He held this seat for 2 years. But when the Justice Minister exposed him as being a criminal, he had to step down from this role, thus putting any thoughts of him becoming President out of the window. It wasn't long after this that the Justice Minister was murdered..along with judges, police, other political figures and ordinary people.
With the authorities after Escobar's back, he and his family were constantly one step again of them and always on the move. You can't imagine the strain this must have had on his mother, wife and 2 children can you? On one side of the coin, he was the drug lord of Columbia and people feared him. But on the flip side, he loved his family dearly and was highly protective of them.
In June of 1991 Pablo surrendered, and in return the threat of extradition was thus lifted. In what seems a tale of irony, he was permitted to build his own prison called La Catedral. Now, what I find so bizarre is that the people guarding the prison were men he picked himself that worked for him. It also had it's own spa, nightclub and casino. And Pablo's living quarters was luxurious and spacious. It also had a football pitch. Pablo escaped from the prison when he found out that plans were set to move him to a more conventional prison. This would lead to a manhunt for the rest of his living days.
Pablo Escobar died on 2 December 1993 after a shootout on a rooftop in Medellin. His bodyguards were also killed. 16 months after escaping from his own prison, the authorities finally caught up with him. As one of the wealthiest and prominant drug kings in living history, he seems to have left a legacy. In some respects, he is seen as a good man - especially among the poor people he helped. Yes, there are people that still admire him to this day surprisingly. But, he was also a son, a husband and a father.
Wagner Moura who plays Pablo Escobar in Narcos
Facts about Pablo Escobar
- One of the may luxury homes he owned was called Haclenda Napoles acquired a zoo full of wild animals, much of which he stole and smuggled in.
- One of the aeroplanes he purchased was bought simply to transport drugs in and out of Columbia.
- He was nicknamed Robin Hood because he used to help the poor in Medellin. He acquired houses for them, built a hospital and even a stadium.
- He ran for presidency but was forced to resign when his criminal activites was exposed. The Justice Minister who led the campagin was assassinated.
- It is estimated he killed about 4000 people. In 1989 100 people died in an aeroplane because it was carrying one informant.
- Escobar had his own prison built and in 1991 turned himself in. The officials agreed to this.
- He was assassinated on 3 December 1993 after a massive manhunt. He said he would rather have a grave in Columbia than a prison cell in the USA.
- He spent an estimated $2500 a month on rubber bands alone to tie his money up with.
- When his wife complained about his daughter being cold, he threw bundles of money on the fire to warm her up.
© 2017 Louise Powles
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on August 20, 2017:
I saw the TV series about him last year, so your article filled in the gaps. He was very much a family man but cared little about others. Good article.
EdwardLane on August 02, 2017:
Excellent article. I have seen movies about him but learned a lot from this article I didn't know. Thanks for sharing!
Marie Ryan from Andalusia, Spain on July 17, 2017:
Fascinating article. Thank you.
I didn't know he was considered a type of Robin Hood figure.
Jenny Stub from Missouri, US on July 17, 2017:
I had no idea Narcos was about this man. I just thought it was a show about drugs. I will have to watch it now. Great article!
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on July 12, 2017:
Nice to read your review on him again. I have seen the TV series on his life. What power and money do to people is truly scary.
Ryan from Louisiana, USA on July 10, 2017:
I need to watch this documentary. This was a great and interesting article. I would love to learn more. It is crazy how rich and powerful he actually became.
ziyena from the Somewhere Out There on July 10, 2017:
You may not believe this but my ex-husband, a Colombian special forces operator was involved in the Ghost Project that took out Pablo Escobar and his brother. Very well written article and glad that I have met you.
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on July 07, 2017:
Pablo Escabar was a very interesting person. Good read
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 06, 2017:
Wow, he really had a lot of money! This was an interesting read. Sometimes people referred to him and I had no idea who they were talking about.. now I do! Thanks!
Claire-louise on July 05, 2017:
Wow, he's like two completely different people really.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 03, 2017:
Is he smiling while posing with his prisoner number? Thanks for telling his story. I wonder how, when and where he received the messages that made him a criminal at such at early age.
DREAM ON on July 03, 2017:
I heard the name but never new any details about his life. What a story to read. Exciting and at the same time sad. What if Escobar never got mixed up in crime I wonder what good he could of done. With little money would he of been a nobody or still someone people remember. Thank you for writing and sharing.
Ronnie wrenchBiscuit on July 02, 2017:
Interesting article about an interesting man. It is remarkable that many have decided that Escobar was the bogeyman for selling drugs and killing over 4000 people. I am of the mind that killing one innocent person is one too many. However, the United States government and the Colonial governments that preceded it have killed hundreds of millions of people. And so-called "respectable" people and corporations continue to get rich from the sell of FDA approved drugs like Oxycontin which is highly addictive. In comparison Escobar simply does not compare! Hopefully one day the people will spend their time and money going after and bringing down the big time criminals, instead of small time folk heroes like Pablo Escobar.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 01, 2017:
Louise, this is really an interesting story. I thought this man was still alive, I thought he was a real Houdini and could escape from any prison. I have mixed feelings about his death.
Blessings my friend