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Wealth, Power, and Tragedy: The Untold Story of Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar
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Wealth, Power, and Tragedy: The Untold Story of Pablo Escobar

Among the top three wealthiest individuals in the world are Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos. As of today, their net worth stands in billions of dollars. However, there was once a figure who rivaled these three in wealth, albeit through means far darker. He may not be alive today, but tales of his riches still echo. His earnings stemmed from the illicit drug trade, and his name was Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, better known simply as Pablo Escobar. He was infamous worldwide as the King of Cocaine. Escobar met his demise at the age of 44 on December 2, 1993, when he was gunned down. Upon evaluation of his assets, it was discovered that his wealth amounted to $30 billion, approximately 2.19 lakh crore rupees at that time, which equates to around 4.31 lakh crore rupees today. He possessed so much money that rodents and insects would nibble on his cash. Escobar owned over 800 properties worldwide.

You may have heard or read in many inspirational stories about a wealthy man whose daughter was ill. In an attempt to save his child from the cold, he burned millions of rupees so that his daughter could feel warmth. Interestingly, this was not just any wealthy man, but the infamous mafia boss, Pablo Escobar.

Government Bought to Construct Jail In the 1970s, Pablo ventured into the illegal cocaine trade. An indicator of Pablo’s power was his ability to pressure the government into constructing a specially tailored jail for him. He stipulated that police were not allowed within a few kilometers of the premises. The facility resembled more of a five-star hotel than a prison, equipped with all amenities. People often joked that it was less of a jail and more of a club. If he had just sat there counting his money, he might have survived. But he didn’t.

Notes Devoured by Insects Pablo was once listed by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s top 10 richest people. He controlled 80% of the cocaine supply in America. Pablo had his own zoo, housing elephants, rare birds, giraffes, and even oceanic horses. He built a palace on a Caribbean island, complete with a swimming pool, a helicopter landing pad, and bulletproof windows. He had so much money that mice would eat away at it, and sometimes, even the notes were devoured by insects. Pablo owned a 6,500-square-foot mansion in the heart of Miami Beach, Florida.”

Colombia’s President Wanted to be the Ruthless Don Pablo

In his family were his wife, Maria Victoria Henao, son Sebastian Marroquin, and daughter Manuela Escobar. Pablo easily disposed of judges, politicians, journalists, and opposition mafia. Around the world, cases of illegal drug trafficking, murder, bombings, bribery, running rackets, and mass murders were on Escobar. Taking out a big politician was a small matter for him. He had blown up a flight full of passengers. His dream was to become Colombia’s president. Pablo’s hitman, John Jairo Velásquez, aka Popeye, had killed 300 people on his orders. In the world of crime, Pablo was also known as Don Pablo, Sir Pablo, The Godfather, and The Boss.

There are some fascinating facts about Pablo that will leave you amazed. Pablo remained famous for more than two decades after his death. This was due to numerous books, films, and songs written about him. Here are some interesting facts related to his life:

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Rise in Power Escobar, the son of a farmer and a school teacher, started his life of crime in his adolescence. According to some reports, his first illegal scheme was selling fake diplomas. After that, he began trafficking in stereo equipment and stealing tombstones. He also tampered with report cards. Escobar stole cars as well, and as a result, he was first arrested in 1974. Soon after, he became an established drug trafficker, and by the mid-1970s, he had assisted in establishing the Medellin Cartel’s criminal organization.

Paying off the Country’s Debt The Medellin Cartel dominated the cocaine trade, earning an estimated $420 million per week and making its leader one of the wealthiest people globally. With a reported fortune of $25 billion, Escobar had enough money to spend. His lavish lifestyle included private planes, luxurious houses, and extravagant parties. In the late 1980s, he reportedly offered to pay off his country’s $10 billion debt. This offer came with the condition that if he received immunity from any extradition treaties, he would pay off the debt. Additionally, when his family was under threat in 1992-93, Escobar allegedly burned $2 million to keep his daughter warm. However, despite his best efforts, Escobar couldn’t spend all the money, and most of it was stored in warehouses and fields. According to his brother, nearly 10%, or $2.1 billion, was eaten by rats or destroyed by termites annually.

A World within a Home Pablo owned an extravagant mansion, but the most famous property was Hacienda Napoles, spanning 7,000 acres between Bogota and Medellin. It reportedly cost $63 million and included a football field, dinosaur statues, artificial lakes, a bullfighting arena, a collection of classic cars destroyed by the cartel, an airstrip, a tennis court, and a zoo. Above the entrance to this estate, Pablo placed the plane he used during his first drug trip to America. Though the plane was later looted by locals, the property is now a popular tourist destination.

Building a Private Zoo Escobar’s private zoo was home to around 200 animals, including elephants, ostriches, zebras, camels, and giraffes. Many of these animals were brought into the country through Escobar’s drug planes. After his death in 1993, most of the animals were relocated to public zoos. However, four hippos remained and multiplied, and by 2016, over 40 hippopotamuses were residing in the area.

Robin Hood It’s not that Escobar didn’t do good deeds. Pablo Escobar built hospitals, stadiums, and housing for the poor. He also sponsored local football teams, earning him the name “Robin Hood.” His popularity among Colombians peaked when he was elected to a congressional seat in 1982. However, his crimes were so severe and numerous that all his criminal activities were exposed just two years later. A justice minister initiated a campaign that ultimately led to his assassination. After this campaign, he was forced to resign.

“Plata o Plomo” – Silver or Lead Escobar adopted a dangerous method to escape his problems. His slogan was “Plata o Plomo,” meaning “silver or lead.” Escobar either got things done through bribery or by killing people. Though he preferred the former, he had no qualms about resorting to the latter option. Allegedly, he was responsible for the deaths of around 4,000 people, including many police officers and government officials. In 1989, he blew up a plane with a hundred people on board because it was carrying an alleged informant.

Building His Own Prison In 1991, Escobar surrendered, but on the condition that he would build his own prison. Surprisingly, Colombian authorities agreed to this condition. His prison was La Catedral, which not only included amenities like a nightclub, sauna, waterfall, and football field but also had telephones, computers, and fax machines. However, after Escobar ordered the torture and murder of two cartel members inside La Catedral, authorities decided to transfer him to a less comfortable prison. It was during this transfer that Escobar escaped in July 1992.

The End of Terror After his escape, with the help of American authorities and rival drug traffickers, the Colombian government conducted a massive search operation. On December 1, 1993, Escobar allegedly celebrated his 44th birthday with cake, wine, and marijuana. The next day, his location in Medellin was discovered. When the Colombian army raided the building, Escobar and a bodyguard managed to climb to the rooftop. Pursuing security forces reached there, and a gunfight ensued. Afterward, Escobar was shot. However, some speculate that Escobar took his own life, as he once said he “preferred a grave in Colombia over a jail cell in America.

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