It needs no introduction to most people. Some admire him, others condemn him. So who was it anyway?
Full name Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (also nicknamed El Doctor, El Patrón or Don Pablo) was born in Rionegro, the third of seven children. His father was a farmer and his mother a teacher.
Despite being the son of a teacher, he himself did not even finish high school. He joined a group of nihilists. He excelled at forging college degrees, petty and grand larceny became his daily bread, and later he and his gang switched to kidnapping rich people. The abductees were usually not returned after receiving the ransom.
A MAN WHO SET BIG GOALS FOR HIMSELF
How could a son from a humble, poor family become so famous and acquire a renowned fortune? He has always dreamed big and set only big goals.
That first goal should have brought him a million dollars in the bank by the 22nd. birthday. One big dream was replaced by more and more dreams that became reality.
HOW DID IT ALL START?
Title forgery, petty theft, kidnapping, were not as profitable as he needed, and so young Pablo continued to search for a way or product that would bring him power and success. He wanted more and he went hard for it. The answer was coca. Specifically, coca extract. He processed this raw material and smuggled it through the Bahamas to the US with great success – the product was out in the world. His success shot out like a rocket, albeit in a dishonest way, but all the more striking.
THE UNCROWNED KING OF THE UNDERWORLD
The assassination of drug lord Pablo Restrepo made him the leader of his own organisation. This flourished under his leadership. He became king of Medellin. Gradually, the Medellín drug cartel dominated the market worldwide. Colombian cocaine has become a symbol of high quality. In his lifetime, he amassed such a fortune that in 1989 Forbes magazine ranked him 8th. place in the ranking of the richest people on the planet.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT. PLATA O PLOMO
During that time, he smuggled 15 tons of cocaine a day. He was under such scrutiny that he bought submarines in addition to planes, helicopters and boats to continue smuggling more discreetly. He owned a huge collection of cars, 142 airplanes , 20 helicopters , 132 yachts, and 141 houses.
He also had his own private zoo, which after his death was turned into an amusement park, where his car collection is also on display.
At 26, he already had over $100 million dollars in the bank. Money started to count worse. He reportedly spent as much as $2,500 a month just on rubber bands to tie bundles of money together. He became the target of many people who were inconvenient for him and he did not hesitate to get rid of them. Many times with whole families. He proved that he is not to be trifled with. Even at the slightest suspicion, they were given the lead. Even his own people had to beware. In all, he was said to be responsible for the deaths of some 4,000 people. Everyone had their price, according to him. Either silver or lead(plata o plomo, bribe, or death).
He knew he had to gain even more power. This predator could afford anything. He used his influence, wealth and got into Congress. He killed three presidential candidates during the election campaign.
He founded many projects to support the poor in Colombia. The masses of the poor and middle class were not difficult to convince and win over to their side. He supported churches, funded schools, hospitals, gave away food and houses, built parks and stadiums. For the people he was something like the Messiah. Blood money bought their affection and support.
THOSE WHO “WENT AFTER HIM”
But as power and popularity grows, so do the enemies. Survivors of the ”inconvenient” and former cartel members banded together to form a group that ”went after him.” Many of them had nothing left to lose but their own lives.
Drug activity and his rapid rise thus brought him a number of other uncomfortable people who wanted to see him dead, or at least behind bars. The solution was simple, either buy them or get them out. If he got a reason to get rid of someone, he didn’t think long.
While he could easily deal with the locals, the American government’s interest in him was a tougher nut to crack.
OWN LUXURY PRISON (1991)
It took a quick plan. His only fear was extradition to the United States, with whom Colombia had an extradition treaty.
Through his lawyers, he negotiated a plea bargain with the Colombian government.
He will spend 5 years in his own prison called La Catedral and they will not extradite him to America. Prison was typically in style, as was everything this dark giant did. Jacuzzi, waterfall, soccer field, bar, all of these things an ordinary mortal wouldn’t expect to find in a prison. Of course he did not behave like a penitent in this prison. On the contrary.
From behind the walls of the “prison” the narcobarón continued to live his life, almost unchanged. Murder, sex parties… He failed to hide it and the decision was made to transfer him to a proper prison. However, he escaped during the transport in June 1992.
Pursued by the government, enemies, and the army, he was tracked down on December 2, 1993. He was 44 years old at the time.
To this day, it is unclear whether he was shot by the police or whether he indulged in the “lead escape” himself. Because he often said in the past that he won’t get caught, he’d rather shoot himself behind the ear.
25,000 Colombians attended the funeral. Although we know where his grave lies, to this day no one knows where the money has gone. His nephew found some “change” hidden in the wall of one of Pablo’s houses. But where have all the billions gone? Nobody knows. The missing assets are estimated at $30 billion…