Pablo Escobar is one of the most popular figures in Colombia today. Twenty-three years after his death, he is a polarizing figure, with many celebrating his legacy and others considering him to be the most deplorable drug lord to ever have lived. The most influential and most feared drug lord of his time, Pablo Escobar wielded significant power, enough to intimidate the Colombian government.
According to his hitman John Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, also known as “Popeye,” Pablo Escobar ordered the death of more than 3,000 people. Now 54, “Popeye” personally admits to killing about 300 people. The following is an excerpt from the Telegraph detailing his role in Pablo Escobar’s war and circumstances leading to his release.
“By the time he was arrested, in 1992, he [Popeye] had killed 250 people with his own hands – including his own girlfriend – and ordered the murder of up to 3,000 more. He detonated over 250 car bombs and organised dozens of kidnappings – among them Andres Pastrana, who went on to be president, and Francisco Santos, cousin of the current president Juan Manuel Santos.
“He is linked to the 1989 bombing of an Avianca jet, which killed 109 people, and the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in 1990 – for which he was convicted to 30 years behind bars. His decision to help the authorities secure further convictions expedited his release – but it has still been controversial in Colombia.”
Because of the carnage he had caused, Pablo Escobar’s family had a price to pay after he was gunned down by the authorities in 1993. His wife Maria Victoria Henao, son Juan Pablo and daughter Manuela Escobar are said to have lived a life of uncertainty as they no longer had the drug lord’s protection and monetary security.
And in 1994, they lived in numerous countries including Ecuador, Brazil, Mozambique, South Africa and Peru, while trying to secure asylum, but were denied. But in December, the family was able to stay in Argentina using tourist visas. They kept a low profile and changed their names.
Going back to Pablo Escobar’s relationship with his family and specifically his love for his daughter Manuela, Pablo Escobar is said to have gone to extreme lengths to ensure that she got everything she wanted, including improvising to bring to life fairy tale characters. On one occasion, Manuela Escobar asked for a unicorn and Pablo made her dream come true by buying a horse and stapling a corn to its head.
A post shared by @hheeek on
He also stapled wings on its back. The horse later died of an infection. In another instance, she asked Pablo how much a billion dollars was and his answer – “the value of your eyes, my princess.” This is as reported by Xpatnation. Pablo is also said to have forced one of his mistresses to have an abortion because he had promised Manuela Escobar that she would be his last child.
After her father’s death, Manuela endured a life of instability and insecurity, changing her name to Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos. In Buenos Aires, where she lived with her family, she is said to have led a normal life, taking the bus to school like other kids her age and so on. In 1999, the family’s identity was exposed. Her mother was jailed in 2000 for money laundering. Now 32, she has been able to successfully stay out of the public eye. This is according to a report by the Inquisitr.
As for her brother, Juan Pablo Escobar, he changed his name to Sebastian Marroquin while in Argentina, and is presently an architect in Buenos Aires. He faced almost similar challenges to Manuela because of his father’s legacy. In his film Sins of My Father, Juan apologizes to victims of the violence unleashed by Pablo Escobar.
He, however, still faces accusations of being involved in activities related to his father’s empire. As for Manuela Escobar and Juan’s mother, Maria Victoria, she has not been seen in the public since 2000.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Fernando Vergara]