“I would rather have a grave in Colombia than a jail cell in the U.S.” Pablo Escobar‘s words, would become a real sooner than the “el patron del mal” would have hope for.
The death photo of Pablo Escobar is the original picture the police had taken after a shootout on 2 December 1993, amid another of Escobar’s attempts to elude the Search Bloc.
“Plata o Plomo” – how Pablo Escobar died
A Colombian electronic surveillance team used radio trilateration technology to track his radiotelephone transmissions and found him hiding in Los Olivos, a middle-class barrio in Medellín. With authorities closing in, a firefight with Escobar and his bodyguard, Álvaro de Jesús Agudelo (alias “El Limón”), ensued. The two fugitives attempted to escape by running across the roofs of adjoining houses to reach a back street, but both were shot and killed by Colombian National Police. Escobar suffered gunshots to the leg and torso, and a fatal gunshot through the ear.
It has never been proven who actually fired the final shot into his ear, or determined whether this shot was made during the gunfight or as part of a possible execution, with wide speculation remaining regarding the subject. Some of Escobar’s relatives believe that he had committed suicide. His two brothers, Roberto Escobar and Fernando Sánchez Arellano, believe that he shot himself through the ear. In a statement regarding the topic, the duo stated that Pablo “had committed suicide, he did not get killed. During all the years they went after him, he would say to me every day that if he was really cornered without a way out, he would ‘shoot himself through the ear’.
Escobar had a way of dealing with his enemies: he called it “plata o plomo”, literally, silver or lead. Usually, if a politician, judge or policeman got in his way, he would first attempt to bribe them, and if that didn’t work, he would order them killed, occasionally including their family in the hit. Escobar: “The essence of the cocaine business was “simple – you bribe someone here, you bribe someone there, and you pay a friendly banker to help you bring the money back.”
Pablo Escobar net worth
In 1987 Escobar was the seventh-richest man in the world – working hard to cultivate his “Robin Hood” image, and frequently distributed money to the poor through housing projects and other civic activities, which gained him notable popularity among the poor in Colombia.
Pablo Escobar had a peak net worth of $30 billion dollars during his lifetime. When he was alive, Pablo Escobar ran of of the most infamous and violent drug cartels in history, The Medellin Drug Cartel. At the peak of its power, the Medellin cartel distributed 80% of the world’s cocaine market.
When Pablo was alive and his cartel was thriving, he employed ten accountants to help launder hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit currency. He reportedly spent $2500 a month just on rubber bands to wrap all the money. That’s enough to buy 250,000 rubber bands every month. Because much of the money was being stored in basements and walls, Pablo was supposedly forced to write off $500 million in cash every year due to spoilage. Spoilage could include water damage and fires, but more common was starving rats that ate the money thinking it was food. At one point while Pablo was on the run, he offered to payoff Colombia’s entire national debt, totaling more than $10 billion, if they passed a law to make extradition illegal.
His empire included an army of soldiers and criminals, a private zoo, mansions and apartments all over Colombia, private airstrips and planes for drug transport and personal wealth reported to be in the neighborhood of $24 billion. Escobar was famous for his extramarital affairs, and he tended to prefer under-aged girls.
In 1991, due to increasing pressure to extradite Escobar, the Colombian government and Escobar’s lawyers came up with an interesting arrangement: Escobar would turn himself in and serve a five-year jail term. In return, he would build his own prison and would not be extradited to the United States or anywhere else. The prison, La Catedral, was an elegant fortress which featured a Jacuzzi, a waterfall, a full bar and a soccer field. In addition, Escobar had negotiated the right to select his own “guards.” He ran his empire from inside La Catedral, giving orders by telephone. There were no other prisoners in La Catedral. Today, La Catedral is in ruins, hacked to pieces by treasure hunters looking for hidden dead Escobar loot.
Pablo Escobar’s wife
Maria Victoria Henao, the wife of the late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, once lived a life of luxury and excess. Now she lives a life on the run.
When Maria Victoria Henao was just 15 years old, she married her self-proclaimed soulmate in March 1976. “[He] was affectionate and sweet,” she recalled in her later years. “A great lover. I fell in love with his desire to help people and his compassion for their hardship. We [would] drive to places where he dreamed of building schools for the poor. From [the] beginning, he was always a gentleman.”
The couple had two children together: a son, Juan Pablo, and a daughter, Manuela.
In the years immediately following Pablo’s death, life got complicated for Maria and her children. Under constant fear of retaliation from her husband’s former associates, Maria wanted to flee Colombia. Unfortunately, the police had raided their house and seized all of the family’s assets, leaving them broke. With little money, and no countries eager to take them in, it was difficult to gain sanctuary. Eventually, after months of effort, she was able to secure entry into Mozambican for all three in 1994. Though she longed for a stable home, Pablo’s reputation followed the family everywhere they went. Maria was forced to constantly flee from place to place to keep her family safe, often changing her name in the process. Her children, too, changed their names: Juan became Sebastian Marroquin and Manuela became Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos.
Best Pablo Escobar quotes
- “All empires are created of blood and fire.”
- “Sometimes I feel like God…when I order someone killed – they die the same day.”
- “There can only be one king.”
- “Life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good.”