Some of my readers may know of Pablo Escobar and some may not, Click here for more info. Just a little background on this post on mine, Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord from the 1970's until his death in 1993. Here in Colombia (at least in some parts of the country) he has achieved a certain mythological status. Especially in Medellin (the large city where he based his drug cartel out of). Some people called him the Robin Hood of Colombia because he was at one point one of the richest men in the world, worth over 3 billion dollars! He donated a lot of money to local communities and to Medellin because he wanted to foster good will among the people. He was especially popular among the poor people of Colombia and many of them actually aided and abetted in hiding him from the authorities. At the height of his power he controlled 80% of the cocaine traffic flowing out of Colombia.
As much as he wanted to portray himself as a nice law abiding citizen, from everything I have read he was not. He offered a bounty of over 500 dollars USD to anyone who could/would kill a policeman. Apparently over 600 police officers died as a result of his bounty. He had many many people murdered who got in his way. At the height of his power not only did he control the drug trade he also controlled the government. He had a short stint in politics and from what I understand the only things he got accomplished were things to benefit him and his illegal business. For example, he made sure that the Colombian government had a law on the books prohibited extradition so he could not be sent to any other country to serve any jail time.
He owned a very large ranch in Medellin Colombia nicknamed "Hacienda Naples" and on this ranch he basically had his own private zoo. He had animals from all over Africa and many many luxuries that most Colombians could only dream of. After his death the Colombia government had no idea what to do with all these exotic animals so they shipped some off to zoos and such but Pablo imported non native Hippopotamus's into his ranch. By the time of his death these hippo's had breeded and become feral. No one knew what to do with them or wanted to mess with these huge animals so they remain there even today. They are tourist attractions and known as the "Cocaine Hippo's".
He was put in prison in Colombia for drug related crimes but it was not just any prison. He had so much influence that he had a special prison built just for him, complete with a soccer field,a swimming pool and a luxury "jail cell" plus more all for him. He was to serve five years there but, he also had the option to choose who was to guard him so after 1 year and a bit he just walked out of the prison and didn't return. He was finally killed in a raid in 1993 and even though it has been almost 20 years he still has supporters.
He was involved in government as I said so not only did his drug cartel control the drug trade they started to control the government as well. One man and his cartel had the power to cripple an entire government. As recently as a few weeks ago some big shot military/government person was put on trial actually in the USA I think for having ties to Pablo's drug cartel (Which is weakened now but still exists). Also, in 1994 an up and coming soccer star was killed after the 1994 world cup because he (accidently) deflected a ball off his leg and scored into his own goal (thereby losing the game for Colombia) allegedly the people who killed him had ties to Pablo's drug Cartel. Now on Colombian TV there is a show all about Pablo Escobar, it glamorizes his lifestyle a little bit but it is a fairly good show.
Well now you know, all I know about Pablo Escobar. But just to dispel the stereotypes some of you may have of Colombia, in the 1980's-early 2000's the murder rate was very high in the country. It was one of the most dangerous countries in the world and the drug crimes were very bad. But, things have really improved! Drugs are certainly still around but they are NOT on every street corner anymore and (knock on wood) I have not had a single problem with violence here. Things have really improved in this country now and if I am not wrong it has fallen out of the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world and I really enjoy my life here! Drugs and crime will never totally go away but in the past decade and a bit Colombia has done a great job about improving things in this country. Lets hope that in the future there will be less men like Pablo Escobar.
Yall take care,Tyler