(Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria; Rionegro, Antioquia, 1949 - Medellin, 1993) Colombian drug trafficker. The endemic violence that Colombian society had been suffering with clashes between the various revolutionary guerrillas and the army and paramilitary groups, had to be added, since the 1980's, the spectacular rise of drug cartels, criminal organizations focused on drug trafficking which amassed fortunes exorbitant and that, in its eagerness to hegemonic, came to unleash war against the State. The head of the Medellin Cartel, Pablo Escobar, was the iconic figure of this period.
Pablo Escobar with his wife, Victoria
Henao and her son Juan Pablo
Son of an administrator of estates and of a rural schoolteacher, Pablo Escobar worked from his childhood in various trades, washing cars or helping in the markets; He was also breeder of cows, to then move to bully to salary and thief of cars. His criminal career began with the purchase of stolen items and small-scale smuggling, until it entered the traffic of marihuana and, finally, in the cocaine.
In 1974 undertook the creation of a business's production and distribution of cocaine that would grow over time to become a vast criminal organization primarily dedicated to drug trafficking: the Medellín Cartel. With Pablo Escobar as Chief, the Group started its activities towards 1976, year in which Escobar was arrested with 19 kilos of cocaine, although his case was dismissed. The Organization prospered rapidly and, at the beginning of the 1980s, Pablo Escobar was already the owner of a considerable fortune.
Against what would be expected of a hood engaged in illicit activities, Escobar refused to remain anonymous, and assuming the role of man of the people, financed development plans for the suburbs of Medellín: thus, rose a quarter for disenfranchised called Medellín without slums or the neighborhood of Pablo Escobar, a set of 780 single-family homes built with destination to people in need. This allowed him to obtain the votes that became you Deputy Mayor of the city of Medellin.
Drug trafficking, in its eagerness to acquire power and handling capacity had on more than one occasion contributed money for the parliamentary and presidential campaigns, was trying to now penetrate the heart of Colombian society directly involved in politics. Pablo Escobar had formed a political group called civic underway, ascribed to the formation of new liberalism, and in 1982 was elected alternate Deputy of the parliamentary Antioqueño Jairo Ortega in the Congress of the Republic. Has not been an isolated episode Escobar: another renowned drug trafficker, Carlos Lehder Rivas, had created another similar movement to that of Escobar, the National Latino movement.
But the new liberalism coalition was led by an honest politician, Luis Carlos Galán, who, having notice of the criminal activities of Escobar, reported by the newspaper El Espectador, expelled him from his movement. This put an end to the career of Escobar, although still promoted a series of civic campaigns and social works with the help of priests Elias Loperas Cárdenas and Hernan Cuartas. In 1983 he returned underground, and for a long time would succeed the periodic siege of Colombian authorities and related agencies such as Interpol and the DEA.
Since that time, Luis Carlos Galán became the great enemy of drug traffickers, who began a relentless persecution against him and against his movement, under the instructions of the own Escobar and Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha. The political class, which until then had not put qualms to the usufruct of drug trafficking money, felt or pretended to be offended and threatened by the rise of Escobar and other members of the drug cartels. The Government of Belisario Betancur (1982-1986) had begun in 1983 tax reform with which is wanted to offer legislation giving the possibility of incorporating the so-called "hot" money to the economy of the country; It had then discussed the possibility of legalizing drugs and its main protagonists. All of this was put into question.
The war of the extraditable
But who more protested before an eventual incorporation of drug traffickers to the political life of the country was United States, a major consumer of drugs which exported Escobar; the U.S. Government began to exert strong pressure on Colombian politics through the DEA (Drug Control Administration), office of the Department of the Treasury of the United States dedicated to the pursuit and control of drug trafficking.
The US Ambassador to Colombia, Lewis Tamb, was commissioned to reject any rapprochement with traffickers and formally requested his extradition as a coercive measure, already then linking drug trafficking to guerrilla. A great debate was given for and against extradition; the narcos, head of Pablo Escobar, coined a famous phrase: "We prefer a grave in Colombia than a cell in the United States".
Pablo Escobar with his wife, Victoria
Henao and her son Juan Pablo
President Betancur and Carlos Jiménez Gómez Attorney marched against the extradition of nationals to the United States, but a fact came to change the situation: on April 30, 1984 the Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, supporter of the extradition and a member of the new liberalism, was murdered by the mafia. The Betancur Government declared war against drug trafficking, and very especially to the Medellin Cartel, which triggered a wave of murders that fall leaders popular and agrarian, congressmen and senators, journalists and judges, candidates for the Presidency and many other characters from national life as a response.
Meanwhile, at the head of the Medellin Cartel, Pablo Escobar had become virtually monopolize the Colombian drug trafficking, controlling much of the maritime routes between the South American country with the United States. Your authentic business empire based on the cocaine had become one of the richest men in the world. The situation did not improve under President Virgilio Barco (1986-1990): was still weighing the threat of extradition of Pablo Escobar and other Mafia bosses, which began to be called the extraditable and followed corpses filling the country, becoming a mechanism of extortion and pressure against the State criminal action.
The Medellin Cartel caused panic by placing car bombs in major cities to force the Government to abolish the extradition of Colombians to the United States. His henchmen waged numerous attacks and murders, some of them massive, that shook the world public opinion. In 1989, in an attack on the headquarters of the Administrative Department of security (DAS), they killed about seventy people. Director of the incorruptible newspaper El Espectador, Guillermo Cano, was murdered in 1986. The same fate ran three candidates in the presidential election of 1990: the quoted Luis Carlos Galán in 1989, and, a year later, Carlos Pizarro Leongómez, leader of the M-19, and Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa, leader of the Patriotic Union.
Finally, during the Presidency of César Gaviria (1990-1994) approved the Constitution of 1991, in which it was prohibited the extradition of Colombian nationals. The inclusion of this provision, which upset the United States, meant a guarantee of maximum legal level, and gave rise to that Pablo Escobar and other Medellin Cartel members, such as the Ochoa brothers, decided to surrender to Colombian justice.
In previous negotiations, however, it had agreed quite favourable conditions for Escobar: would not enter a jail running alongside other criminals, but a new one that the own Escobar built with their money on grounds of his property near the town of Envigado. Dubbed the Cathedral, this "prison" equipped with all the luxuries imaginable housed no more inmates than the own Escobar and his lieutenants and collaborators. From there it followed driving your non-profit organization, under the protection of his bodyguards inside and outside Colombian security forces.
This scandal caused an angry reaction in the United States, and ran the rumor that American command asaltarían the Cathedral would be the capo. Arguing that the lack of security and the influence of U.S. interests endangering his life, and that guarantees that the Government had offered was insufficient, Pablo Escobar decided, after thirteen months of detention, leaving prison, did something that without too many difficulties on July 22, 1992. He returned to clandestinity and the wave of kidnappings, terrorism and extremist actions deepened.
But this new phase also affected the family of the head of the drug trafficking, since it was subject to the violent actions of the self-styled group of Los Pepes (persecuted by Pablo Escobar), who started a campaign of attacks against property, family, lawyers and associates of the offender. In this wave of attacks have dropped several of his trusted men and the Escobar family started a diaspora which attempted to find a nation that would like to receive them as political refugees.
The Government of César Gaviria, meanwhile, offered juicy rewards for any information about his whereabouts. For more than one year, he managed to evade capture, until finally the 2 December 1993, when he had just turned 44 years old, was shot dead by fifteen police search block (group especially made for his capture) on the roof of his house in the District of America, Medellin, after making a few calls to his family to be located. He was married to María Victoria Henao, who had borne him two sons: Juan Pablo and Manuela.
Thus closed one of the most significant episodes of Colombian history in the second half of the 20th century. The fall of Pablo Escobar led to the dismantling of all its organization, but it was exploited by the Cali Cartel (more modern, discrete and influential in political and financial circles in the country) to take over the control of drug trafficking in Colombia. The infiltration of politics continued: in the presidential elections of June 1994, the two candidates, Ernesto Samper and Andrés Pastrana, were accused of having received funding from the Cali Cartel. It was elected Ernesto Samper (1994-1998), who, with us help, gave a definitive to the Cali Cartel blow to detain their leader, in 1995 Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela.
Such a blow was not, of course, the end of drug trafficking in Colombia, but from the time of the great posters: from then on, no large organization came to copy most of the market or to openly defy authorities to the extent of destabilizing the country. The business, according to experts, is atomized and specialized, and its leaders of more weight, when there were, were less powerful and remained in a flat second discrete. This change contributed to convert to Pablo Escobar in the singular emblem of a unique historical moment, and, together with the natural human fascination with the characteristic epic of evil, explains the appeal still waking her figure, which was the subject of books, documentaries, films and television series since.