Pablo Escobar is one of the most celebrated and revered drug lords in history. Also said to be the richest to have ever existed, Pablo controlled about 80 percent of the cocaine market in America in the 80s and was the most powerful and charismatic drug trafficker in the world by the early 1990s.
Being one of the members of the Medellin cartel, Pablo Escobar was able to harness the power of the group to make cocaine the drug of the 1980s in America. That said, he and the Medellin cartel first used widespread violence in the early 80s following the kidnapping of Marta Ochoa, daughter to one of the Ochoa brothers, by Colombian guerrillas. A group called MAS was formed by the cartel, and its main objective was to annihilate guerrilla kidnappers.
The creation of the gang was said to have been masterminded by Carlos Lehder, who was the main drug shipment transporter for the group into the United States. The MAS hitmen carried out so many gruesome killings across the country that the kidnappers simply gave up the girl unharmed due to fear for their lives. This is reported to be the first time that Pablo Escobar really realized the power of violence and intimidation.
On to his wealth, it is estimated that at the peak of his power, Pablo Escobar had returns of up to $420 million every week. The wealth is said to have brought him power and influence both in and outside his community in Medellin. His control is also said to have infiltrated the country’s security system. The following is an excerpt of a report on this by Xpatnation.
“There were rumors that Colombian authorities were on Escobar’s payroll, and he devised a way to keep up the appearances. Pablo coordinated theatrical acts in which police teams confiscated massive shipments of cocaine. Right after the police allowed journalists to photograph the merchandise and report it on the news, the confiscated cocaine was sent on its way to the United States. Colombia was Pablo Escobar’s turf and he did everything he wanted.”
When he became too big for his country, the administration sought to extradite him and other members of the Medellin cartel. This is when he used immense violence to intimidate the government into abandoning the attempt. At one time he is alleged to have paid the M-19 guerrilla group a million dollars to attack the Palace of Justice, situated in Bogota, in 1985.
The following is footage of the siege.
According to a testament by one of his main enforcers by the name of John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, Pablo Escobar’s men were so engaged in violence to intimidate and eliminate key figures he wanted eliminated that he had personally detonated more than 250 car bombs, undertaken dozens of kidnappings, and linked to the murder of Luis Carlos, a Colombian presidential candidate in 1990. According to a report by the Telegraph, he has no feelings of remorse about killing anyone. The following was his statement in regards to this after being released from jail last year.
“That idea that a person cannot sleep for thinking about dead people doesn’t apply to me… Neither did I need to take drugs, or smoke, or take pills to calm myself down. The deeds that I have done don’t deprive me of sleep.”
On whether he is going to return to a life of crime, he stated, “I’m not going to harm anyone. I am a man at peace with myself”. But he also added that if Pablo Escobar were today, he would join him, as he was a man with strategy and vision. The following was his statement.
“If Pablo Escobar were born again, I would join him without a moment’s hesitation. He was loved by us. He taught us to fight and gave us everything.”
[AP Photo/Luis Benavides]