Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria – “El Patron” also known as the “King of cocaine” was hated and adored at the same time. According to Forbes magazine, he was one of the 10 richest men in the world. Who knows how that list would look like if he could add all the hidden money? He was earning almost $30 billion a year from his business before he died in 1993.
What was his true identity: a smuggler, a drug dealer, a politician, or a modern “Robin Hood”? Let’s go through these revealing facts about Pablo Escobar and find out:
Escobar was born on the 1st of December, 1949, in the Colombian city of Rionegro, Antioquia.
His father was a farmer while his mother was a schoolteacher.
He started stealing tombstones and selling phony diplomas, stealing cars and then he moved into the smuggling business.
Under Escobar’s guidance, large amounts of coca paste were purchased in Bolivia and Peru, processed, and transported to America.
He founded the infamous Medellín.
In 1976, Escobar married 15-year-old Maria Victoria Henao. The couple had two children: a son, Juan Pablo, and a daughter, Manuela.
By the mid-1980s the Medellín Cartel dominated the cocaine trade, with Escobar acquiring immense power and wealth.
His lavish lifestyle included private planes, luxurious homes, and over-the-top parties.
Escobar couldn’t spend all that money, and much of it was stored in warehouses and fields.
According to his brother, about 10%, or $2.1 billion was eaten by rats or destroyed.
Escobar spent around $2,500 per month on rubber bands to hold all his cash.
He spent millions on schools, football stadiums, hospitals, and churches.
Helping the poor helped Escobar win the election in the country’s Congress in 1982.
The reasons for his wealth couldn’t stay hidden, and two years after he was forced to resign.
His greatest desire was to become the President of Colombia.
He used to boast to his wife: “Honey, get ready to be the first lady… the doors of the presidential palace are going to open to us”.
Being ruthless he handled problems with “Plata o plomo”, meaning “silver” (bribes) or “lead” (bullets).
When the Escobar family was in hiding his daughter became ill with hypothermia. Pablo is reported to have burned about 2 million dollar bills to keep her warm.
At the height of his career, Pablo Escobar was responsible for smuggling 15 tons of cocaine every day in the drug trade.
The biggest cocaine shipment ever made in the USA by Escobar weighed around 25, 5 tons.
He used different types of planes and even submarines for smuggling.
Escobar was responsible for the killing of thousands of people, politicians, civil servants, journalists, and ordinary citizens.
He was considered as the mastermind behind the bombing of a Colombian jetliner in 1989 that killed more than 100 people.
Escobar’s terror turned public opinion against him.
He offered to pay Colombia’s debt, nearly 10 billion dollars to change the laws of extradition.
The threats of extradition to the United States were his biggest fear.
He said that he “would rather have a grave in Colombia than a jail cell in the U.S.”
A massive manhunt was organized to find Escobar, while the government also began negotiations for his surrender.
June 1991, on the same day that the Colombian Congress voted to forbid extradition in the country’s new constitution, Escobar surrendered and was imprisoned.
He was allowed to build a luxurious prison “La Catedral”. The facility included a nightclub, sauna, waterfall, and soccer field.
At “La Catedral”, he killed 2 cartel members so the officials decided to move him to a less-accommodating prison.
Escobar escaped custody in July 1992.
In December 1993, one day before his death, Escobar celebrated his 44th birthday, allegedly enjoying cake, wine, and marijuana.
The next day the Colombian forces stormed into his safe house. Escobar managed to get to the roof where he was fatally shot.
Rumours about Escobar’s death continue to this day claiming that he chose to be killed himself than allow himself to be captured.
He was buried in the peaceful “Cemetario Jardines Montesacro” in “Itagüí”, south of Medellin.
Approximately 25,000 people attended Pablo Escobar’s funeral.
The poor people, who received help from him while he was alive, mourned his death.
After he died, the Medellín Cartel soon collapsed.
Pablo Escobar built a zoo on his estate in Puerto Triunfo that had giraffes, elephants, and hippos. The estate has been turned into a theme park.
Escobar’s fascinating life story was an inspiration for many books, movies, and series in the decades after his death:
“Narcos”, “Pablo Escobar”, “le Patron du mal”- series
“Blow”, “Paradise Lost”, “Infiltrator”, “Loving Pablo”- movies
“Manhunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar”, “Mrs. Escobar: My Life with Pablo”, “Pablo Escobar’s Story”- books
Do you have any interesting facts about Pablo Escobar that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!