It’s been decades since Pablo Escobar last spread violence in Colombia in a bid to beat extradition. A member of the infamous Medellin cartel, he was able to become the world’s most powerful drug lord through a combination of violence to those who disagreed with him and financial rewards to those who sided with him. In the Medellin community, for example, he was a polarizing figure, feared by the rich and powerful and loved by the poor who he helped at every turn. The following is a report by See Colombia in regards to this and the different reactions after his death.
“For some communities, however, the killing of Escobar was not the signal of a bright new dawn. Some in Medellín mourned his death and were reverent supporters and defenders (sometimes accomplices) of the man. At one point during his reign, locals in Medellín would release celebratory fireworks whenever a drug shipment made it across the border. For Escobar to have cultivated this kind of following in his home city – where he was responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians, politicians and police, as well as for the city becoming known as the murder capital of the word – took more than simply being good at PR. Escobar worked hard to cultivate a ‘Robin Hood’ image among what he perceived as his people, and it was somehow successful.”
He built schools and churches for some of the poor communities in his area, created sports centers and funded soccer teams. However, this was all because of the vast amounts of money he derived from the trade, which is said to have been so much that about $2,500 worth of rubber bands was used each month to bundle the money together. The following is an excerpt of a report on this by Business Insider.
“Pablo was earning so much that each year we would write off 10% of the money because the rats would eat it in storage or it would be damaged by water or lost.”
According to his son Juan Pablo Escobar, Pablo is said to have at one time burnt $2 million at night in a bid to keep his daughter warm, while on the run.
Presently, Pablo Escobar is said to be a celebrated figure in Medellin, with the soap opera Pablo Escobar: el Patrón del Mal, which is based on his life, being among the favorites in the country. According to Spanish Speaking World, “It was viewed by as many as 11 million people across the country at it’s peek, and continues to be a big hit.”
The show recounts Escobar’s rise to be the head of the dangerous Medellin cartel, and his ruthless criminal practices, as well as his relationship with his wife, and his works of charity for the poor. Some consider the show to be too much of a romanticized view of a notorious killer and drug dealer, painting him as a modern day “Robin Hood.” The show has recently begun broadcasting in the United States, Honduras, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Panama, Guatemala, and Serbia.
That said, a safe found in one of his properties earlier this year in Miami Beach is said to be in good condition and will be stored in a bank vault. This was the second found in the residence within a year. The following is the report on this by the Miami Herald.
“The safe found on Monday will be placed in a bank vault, where it will stay until the property owners decide to unlock it. They plan to open it after they finish Valoppi’s documentary on the history of the mansion.
For the moment, the property will be under 24-hour security until all rubble is removed.
[AP Photo/Luis Benavides]