Pablo Escobar is one of the most talked about drug lords in the world. And with a net worth of about $30 billion at the time of his death, he inspired millions in his home country, Colombia, and outside for all the wrong reasons. Today, his life history and romanticized legacy have inspired films such as Narcos, Killing Pablo, Medellín and Pablo Escobar: The Terror of Colombia, which are based on his life.
That said, a new eatery in Islamabad, Pakistan, christened Pablo’s B.Y.O.B (Build Your Own Burger) has also cashed in on the Escobar hype and gained great popularity. Featuring a Pablo Escobar theme, it is said to have a soaring clientele. This highlights Escobar’s popularity today across the world.
That said, the reality of his life was that while he enjoyed an out-of-this-world lifestyle in his peak, his family and close associates suffered greatly in his last days and after his death. Delving a bit into the situation facing his family after his death, his wife, son, and daughter lived in fear as Pablo’s enemies had grown tremendously, with the line between friends and foes quickly getting blurred. They reportedly moved from country to country seeking safe refuge and were eventually granted asylum by Argentina.
Today, Pablos’s family still lives with the burden of his legacy, which led to a lot of bloodshed in Colombia. His son, Sebastián Marroquín, born Juan Pablo Escobar is an Argentinean architect and has in numerous instances tried to confront the situation by publicly denouncing his father’s actions through books and meeting with affected families. On the other hand, Pablo Escobar’s wife, Maria Victoria Henao, and daughter Manuela Escobar have rarely ever been seen in the public.
However, there have been glimpses of the two in the media. In 2000, Pablo Escobar’s wife was identified after a blackmail attempt that reportedly led her to talk to Argentinean authorities. Apparently, she owned a real estate company and on learning her true identity, her accountant tried to extort money from her. The following is an excerpt of the report by Time detailing this.
“His mother [Sebastián Marroquín’s] reported the extortion attempt, but was forced to reveal her ties to Escobar. Startled Argentine authorities abruptly detained Santos, who was held for 18 months on charges of money laundering while Marroquín spent 45 days behind bars. Escobar’s daughter, who is now a 25-year-old university student, was also ostracized as nervous parents demanded that she be expelled from school.
“After a seven-year legal battle, the charges were dropped against the family. Marroquín married his longtime Colombian girlfriend and now, along with an Ecuadorian partner, designs buildings in Buenos Aires.”
On the question of how his father, Pablo Escobar, grew so rich and powerful, Sebastián highlights in his book Pablo Escobar, In Fraganti that corrupt U.S. government officials were complicit in his drug trafficking undertakings. The following are statements from his book indicating this.
“There are some shocking revelations about my father and the bonds of international corruption that helped him make millions for very important organisations through drug trafficking. It is clear that at some point the US decided to buy cocaine from Pablo Escobar and use their services to fund the anti-communist struggle in Central America.”
This element has notably been left out in the Narcos series. Pablo Escobar is, however, credited for being the first person to smuggle cocaine into the United States on a massive scale, using planes. He is also credited by many who worked with him as a foresighted entrepreneur who was able to see a business opportunity in the cocaine growing communities in regions such as Bolivia and linked them to the world’s biggest drug market, the United States.
His drug trafficking network is reported to have involved influential figures in foreign governments, including Cuba. According to Pablo Escobar’s top hitman, John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez aka Popeye, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian literary icon was also involved in Escobar’s drug trafficking dealings and was the link between Pablo Escobar and Fidel and Raul Castro, who apparently allowed drugs to be trafficked into America through Cuba. The following is an excerpt of Popeye’s revelation as reported by Business Insider.
“Popeye said that he hand-delivered letters from Escobar to Colombian literary icon Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who then passed the letters on to Fidel and Raul Castro.”
[Featured Image by Luis Benavides/AP Images]