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Born in 1949, Pablo Escobar grew up in an era of violence in Medellin, Colombia. By the 1960s he was a smalltime racketeer and marijuana dealer. By the 1970s, he had used bribery and murder to rise and become the leader of the Medellin Drug Cartel. The sudden popularity of cocaine in the U.S. rapidly made Escobar the most powerful man in Colombia. He took to living an extravagant life and purchased a lavish estate, a private zoo, and several planes, helicopters, and automobiles. Escobar even funded his own paramilitary army to protect his interests from the Marxist guerillas in Colombia.
Escobar's increasing use of violence and terror brought increased attention from both his own government and the United States. Knowing that authorities were closing in on him, he cut a deal. He surrendered after Colombia rewrote its constitution to prevent Escobar from being extradited to the U.S. Escobar was placed in prison; however, it was a prison that he himself had constructed. The prison was more of a mountainside resort than anything. Escobar lived in the lap of luxury of his private prison and was frequently visited by friends and could even venture out to take in soccer matches or go shopping.
Escobar finally went too far when he executed two associates within his prison compound. The Colombian government decided to force Escobar into a real prison. Before they could make the transfer, Escobar escaped. Once again, the manhunt was on. This time, the United States would offer the Colombian government massive assistance.
While on the run, Escobar used his traditional methods to assassinate those people hunting him down. Car bombs claimed the lives of hundreds of police officers as well as innocent men, women, and children. In the midst of this terror, a group known as Los Pepes began a similar campaign of violence against anyone associated with Escobar. Los Pepes brutally murdered the key figures of the Medellin Cartel, crippling Escobar's empire.
Pablo Escobar was running out of options. The Colombian police, U.S. Special Forces, and Los Pepes were hunting him. He was also afraid that his wife and children would soon be assassinated by vigilantes. His empire was crumbling. He had remained hidden and safe until a phone call to his son allowed authorities to track him down to a house in Medellin. During the ensuing gun fight, Pablo Escobar was killed on December 2, 1993.
Often referred to as the "World's Greatest Outlaw," Pablo Escobar was perhaps the most elusive cocaine trafficker to walk the face of the earth. He was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1949, and while still attending school, he began his life of crime.
When he was a youngster, he told his mother that he wanted to be "big" someday, but the path he chose to pursue wasn't exactly what she had in mind.
It's rumored that Escobar got his start by stealing tombstones from local cemeteries, sandblasting them and then reselling them to smugglers from Panama. By the time he was 20, he was already an accomplished car thief. He started out small as a hustler, doing whatever he could to make money -- from running petty street scams with his gang to selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets. He even conned people out of their cash when they'd leave the bank.
Pablo also got an early start in the drug scene. He would spend his days and nights smoking Colombia's highly potent pot, a routine he continued throughout his life.
By the 1960s, he was a small-time marijuana dealer and in the early 1970s, he entered the cocaine trade while using bribery and murder to become the head of the Medellin drug cartel. America's newfound obsession with cocaine quickly turned Escobar into the most powerful man in Colombia.
In addition to using the planes, Pablo's brother, Roberto Escobar said he also used two small remote-controlled submarines as a way to transport the massive loads.
More on the man who was once the seventh richest man in the world.
HEY BIG SPENDER
Escobar was once named the world's seventh richest man. He lived a lavish lifestyle and loved to flaunt his wealth. He purchased luxurious estates and a private zoo, which housed imported elephants, hippos, rhinoceroses, lions, giraffes, and other exotic animals.
He had a garden with 100,000 fruit trees and gigantic cement dinosaurs. He also bought numerous planes, helicopters and automobiles. In addition, Escobar even funded his own army to protect himself from guerillas in Colombia.
He had no problem assassinating or kidnapping anyone at all, no matter who it was. He often ordered that government officials be killed, including members of the Supreme Court. He easily had politicians, civil servants, judges, journalists, and average citizens eliminated. Several intelligence reports stated that Pablo's cartel even planned to kill President Bush (Sr.) with a bomb on his visit to Cartegena in 1989.
Luis Galán, who was a Liberal Party candidate for president, and a threat to everything Pablo stood for, was shot with an Uzi submachine gun while giving a campaign speech. No more than three months later, he tried to kill Galán's successor, candidate César Gaviria, by planting a bomb on a plane. The airliner was blown out of the sky and 110 people lost their lives.
Another example of his cruelty happened during a gathering at his estate. A servant was caught stealing silverware and Escobar had him tied up and thrown into the pool, left to drown, as the entire party looked on. Some people said that if Escobar had been president of his own country, he would have been comparable to Adolph Hitler.
In the fall of 1985, due to the suspicion of the origin of Escobar's wealth, the United States increased pressure on Colombia to extradite him. However, the Colombian government made a deal with Pablo that only sent him to jail (in Colombia).
However, the jail was far from a real prison. From the outside it resembled a mountainside resort and on the inside it could easily be mistaken for a country club. Although imprisoned, he was not without an abundant supply of gourmet food, alcohol, drugs and whores. He was even allowed to have visitors and occasionally enjoyed outings to soccer games. While incarcerated, he continued his drug trafficking by telephone, but finally went too far when he tortured and killed a few of his associates within the compound.
Prison could not hold Escobar...
CHASE IS ON
He was untouchable for about 16 months, until the authorities traced a telephone call he made, which enabled them to track him to a house in Medellin. He telephoned a radio station to protest the treatment of his wife and kids who were attempting to leave the country.
END OF THE ROAD
Even after Escobar was dead, it did nothing to change the shipping of cocaine to the U.S. It was even suggested that his death unintentionally contributed to the formation of unions between growers, traffickers, and several other groups that continue to threaten the Colombian government to the present day.
Nicknamed "The Godfather," Pablo Escobar was a legendary billionaire and leader of the Medellin drug cartel, famous for their international cocaine trafficking. He was able to dodge a specially organized 3,000-member security team for 16 months, until he met his demise on a rooftop.
It was said that his death marked an end of an era of violence and drugs, and was considered a triumph of law over crime. Although in reality, it did little to stop the flow of cocaine to the U.S.
When Pablo Escobar was killed in December of 1993, it was said to put a stop to the killing and terror inflicted upon the people of Colombia by Escobar and his gang.
Several movies have been based on Escobar, including Blow and The True Story of Killing Pablo that aired on the History Channel, which takes a look at the controversy concerning the United States' involvement in the search for Escobar.
There is also a book called Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw written by Mark Bowden.
NOTES AND ARTICLES
Colombia counts the cost of war Jul 26th 2001
From The Economist print edition
PABLO ESCOBAR was a car thief and small-time hoodlum in Medellin, Colombia's second city, when he discovered America's appetite for cocaine. He quickly became a billionaire. What distinguished him from other drug traffickers was his icy ruthlessness and his vaulting ambition, which led him to seek political office. The result was a war lasting almost a decade between Escobar and his army of hired killers from the Medellin slums on the one hand, and the Colombian state and the American government on the other.
Escobar's strategy of plomo o plata (lead or silver) was devastatingly effective: ordinary citizens, politicians, journalists, judges and police alike were slaughtered; many others preferred to be corrupted. The government agreed to a deal under which the drug baron entered a luxurious prison which he controlled. When Escobar walked out of the jail, an embarrassed government launched a desperate manhunt that lasted 16 months. It ended on December 2nd 1993, when Escobar was cornered and finally killed.
Mark Bowden, an American investigative journalist, turns the hunt for Escobar into a thriller, long on reconstructed dialogue, cliché and hyperbole. He lacks any deep knowledge or understanding of Colombia; his background chapters are derivative and strewn with elementary errors. But his researching of American sources is impressive.
Mr Bowden shows how in the hunt for Escobar, Colombian and American law enforcers adopted their quarry's methods and were none too choosy about their allies. These included not just the Cali drug mob, but Carlos Castañonow notorious as the leader of an 8,000-strong army of right-wing, drug-trafficking vigilantes. Packaged as an airport bestseller, Killing Pablo recounts an important chapter in the story of how America's demand for drugs and its failed crusade against them have helped to plunge Colombia into chaos.
Colombia´s Crimson Nigth
Escobar's hand of death reaches out from the grave
From The HoustonChronicle print edition
taught these boys to assassinate"
Colombia In life, he embodied death itself. Now, almost four years dead,
Pablo Escobar has become a roadside attraction.
The once-feared drug boss lies in a simple grave up a low hill from a busy expressway on the outskirts of Medellin. Every year, thousands of people trek to his tomb, some to pay their respects, others, perhaps, to assure themselves that he really is gone.
"Many people come here to cry for him. Many others think he hasn't died," says Carlos Venegas, 24, who once worked as Escobar's gardener and now earns tips guiding sightseers to his grave. "He was very loved."
Maybe. But for more than a decade Escobar defined the world's bloody image of Medellin.
Though the city has spawned many gangsters, none has been as feared or as admired as Escobar. His cocaine mafia took the violent young men of the city's slums, armed them well and trained them to kill in special schools for sicarios, as Colombia's paid assassins are called. Escobar then set the young men on rival gangsters, government officials, anyone who challenged or irritated him.
If cocaine offered Medellin's young men a way out of anonymous poverty, Escobar offered them an example of what they might become.
"They blamed everything on him," says Venegas, standing near Escobar's grave in old unlaced shoes, a dirty shirt and torn gym shorts. "But Medellin hasn't changed. There are still bombs. There are still killings.
"Who are they going to blame now?"
Escobar lies alongside the trusted bodyguard who died with him on Dec. 2, 1993, when police caught up with them in a nondescript Medellin neighborhood not far from the cemetery.
A coffin length away are the graves of three Escobar relatives, reputed partners in the cocaine trade, who were also hunted down and killed by police.
At least once a week, Olga Maria Salazar, 34, stops by Escobar's grave. She comes after paying respects at the grave of her husband, who was shot last year by a hired killer.
Salazar says Escobar might have been responsible, at least indirectly, for her husband's murder. But that doesn't diminish her respect for the drug boss, she says. She remembers the money Escobar spent on the poor neighborhoods of Medellin, the good feelings he gave the people there.
"Pablo was very good in one sense," Salazar says with a sad shrug. "He had so much money, he helped people out. But he did bad things. I can't forgive him, because he started the sicario schools. He taught these boys to assassinate.
"Now it's not Pablo anymore who does the killing. It's the guerrillas, the gangs. But he taught them to kill."
Salazar grows hushed as three men approach. One bears a remarkable likeness to Escobar. Another, a skinny man barely out of his teens, hovers like a bodyguard, the bulge at his waistband suggesting a gun.
The men nod hello to Venegas, stand silently in front of Escobar's tomb, then walk to the graves of the dead drug boss's relatives. The men say little. But their presence chills the sunny afternoon.
After a few minutes, the men cast a sneering glance at the other visitors and trudge toward the cemetery exit.
"Everyone comes here because of who he was, because of his importance," says Salazar, nodding at Escobar's grave as the men walk beyond earshot. "If he was a saint, no one would visit him."
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World'S Greatest Outlaw
by Robin Kirk
Medellín is a well of desire. Its slums perch on steep Andean slopes, staring down at the opulence of the flats. Violating the rule in Latin America, the poor live high and the rich live low. The steeper the street, the more desperate the desire. The people staring down at the swimming pools and the Ferraris don't hate the rich. They want to be them. Along Medelln's shopping avenues, you can buy designer labels - just the labels, mind you, carefully trimmed - to whipstitch into your wardrobe.
Born in Medelln, Pablo Escobar learned this lesson early. His grandfather smuggled a Colombian homebrew known as tapetusa in empty coffins and hollowed eggs. Escobar followed in his footsteps by smuggling cigarettes, liquor, clothing and household appliances. Then, a friend told him about cocaine. It was easier to haul and generated fabulous profits.
In Killing Pablo, reporter Mark Bowden writes about Escobar and the hunt that led to his death, presenting it as one episode in the continuing soap opera of America's war on drugs. For Bowden, Escobar's genius was not innovation - cocaine was already being imported to the United States when he financed his first kilos - but savagery. Escobar would do anything, absolutely anything, to win. "He wasn't an entrepreneur, and he wasn't even an especially talented businessman. He was just ruthless. When he learned about a thriving cocaine processing lab on his turf, he shouldered his way in. If someone had developed a lucrative delivery route north, Pablo demanded a majority of the profits - for protection. No one dared refuse him."
By 1981, Escobar had killed and threatened his way to the top. U.S. authorities detected only one in every hundred inbound cocaine flights. A plane could take as many as 400 kilos of cocaine a trip. At five flights a week, that meant over $2 billion a year, a fifth of Colombia's annual exports, right behind oil and more than the value of the country's entire annual coffee harvest. Escobar was king, El Patrn, the Boss.
Bowden's last best seller, Black Hawk Down, told the inside story of how eighteen American soldiers perished in Mogadishu, Somalia. Bowden, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, uses a similar narrative technique in Killing Pablo. Others have chronicled in better detail Escobar's fabulous wealth, shocking violence, and the destruction produced by his obsession with converting his fortune into political power. Where Bowden excels is in describing how shadowy American teams helped track Escobar down and kill him in 1993. In doing so, he exposes one of the ugliest truths about America's effort to stop drugs at the source. Billions of dollars have been spent seizing cocaine and eliminating traffickers like Escobar, yet with little apparent effect on the amount, price, or purity of the drugs reaching the United States. For Colombia, the truth is grimmer. One of the key forces allied with the Americans to bring Escobar down was a rival cartel, which grabbed Escobar's routes before his body was cold. Bowden shows that "killing Pablo" has had no lasting effect on the amount of illegal narcotics sold on U.S. streets or the violence that now claims over 3,000 Colombians a year.
Based on fresh research and hundreds of interviews, Bowden reveals how U.S. military and intelligence agencies used sophisticated surveillance techniques to track Escobar. A top secret U.S. Army team known as Centra Spike used Beechcraft airplanes packed with specialized equipment and ground-based teams to locate Escobar. Then, they passed the information to the Colombian police in hopes that the police would kill him.
Qualms were few. During his career, Escobar had ordered hundreds killed, placed dozens of bombs in crowded cities, and even brought down a commercial jet, killing all on board. Bowden makes the Americans into clean-cut good guys. He admires the technological know-how and can-do convictions that were used, displaying a Tom Clancy-like gusto for the hardware and hard-body values.
Bowden isn't as interested in the broader implications of America's role in the hunt for Escobar, which is a pity. Twisted motives and hidden alliances are the key to the story, not Yankee ingenuity or muscle. In the end, American technology proved remarkably ineffective. The fat, arrogant, lazy, pot-smoking, sly, and vicious Escobar moved in Medelln like it was his own boudoir, gleefully slipping from house to house while changing cell channels and verbal codes.
It finally took other drug lords to run Escobar down. His rivals in the city of Cali bankrolled a group that called itself People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar, PEPEs for short. Bowden explains how the PEPEs implicitly coordinated with the Americans. But Bowden is too cautious for my taste in interpreting the import of the relationship between the PEPEs and the United States. The PEPEs erased Escobar's hiding places far more thoroughly than Centra Spike and should get equal credit for his death.
To anyone reading the daily news, the law of unintended consequences for hunting Escobar down seems as glaring as America's continuing love affair with illegal narcotics. One of the PEPEs, Carlos Castao, now leads Colombia's paramilitaries. He is waging the most brutal war in the hemisphere, ostensibly against leftist guerrillas, but actually on thousands of defenseless civilians. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency claims Castao continues to traffic, using his fabulous profits for Uzis and mortar rounds.
Killing Pablo is a gripping autopsy of failure. Yet Bowden seems oddly unwilling to draw any conclusions, using the book's last lines to muse that the final meaning of Escobar's death is unknowable. It's as if Bowden spent all his time stringing dates and conversations and radio waves in chronological order, but never stepped back to ask why we should care.
Pablo Escobar: Meaning (information, definition, explanation, facts) -
From The Explanation Guide
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (January 12, 1949 - December 2, 1993) was a Colombian drug lord who was considered by members of the government, news reporters and the general public alike to be one of the most ruthless, ambitious and powerful drug dealers Colombia ever had. He made millions, or perhaps billions, of dollars smuggling cocaine into the United States.
Escobar began his career as a car thief in the streets of Medellín, Colombia as a teenager. He started building what many have deemed as a drug empire during the 1970s.
Escobar during the 1980s became known internationally because his drug network, known as El Cartel de Medellín, is said to have controlled a large portion of the drugs that entered into Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic with cocaine base brought from Peru and Bolivia. Escobar drugs reached many other international places, mostly around the Americas, although it is said that his network reached as far as Asia. He was also suspected of buying off government officials, judges and country presidents. He had no hesitation to kill any one who would not cooperate with him. He was the prime suspect in the killing of three presidential candidates in Colombia, including one aboard an Avianca jet in 1989. He was also suspected of being behind many terrorist bombings including the bombings of Avianca Flight 203 and a Bogota security building in 1989. Medellín was involved in a deadly drug war with Colombia's other main drug cartel, Cartel De Cali. He was suspected of ordering more than 100 murders.
Escobar, according to a television documentary shown in the United States, built an air strip in The Bahamas, from where he could direct delivery into the States.
While an enemy of the United States and Colombian governments he was a hero to many of the people of Medellín. A lifelong sports fan, he was credited with building Little League baseball stadiums and sponsoring little league baseball teams in the city. He would also buy gifts and distribute money to the poor. Much of the population worked as free look outs for Escobar and helped hide information from the authorities. The poor of the region also provided the recruits to staff his operations.
Escobar was jailed in a jail named La Catedral (near Medellín), his "private Prison", which he himself had built under the agreement that, after remaining jailed there for a mandatory 5 year sentence, he would be set free with a Degree in Law. But he escaped on July 22 1992, fearing extradition to the United States. It has been rumored that, while hiding, he was working out a deal with the DEA in which he would surrender, but the DEA would have to arrest members of his rival organization too, though this may be conjecture.
Escobar was killed on December 2, 1993, while trying to run away from the Colombian police, who had found him living in a middle class barrio in Medellin. Some rumors claim snipers of the U.S. Special Operations Command might have taken part in the final hunt for Escobar. Prior to his death, his family had flown to Germany and hoped to get refuge there, but they were denied such a privilege by the German government. Whether Escobar died during an actual shoot out or not has always been debated, but his body lay on the roof of a house when he died.
Escobar is credited with using the "Colombian necktie": a form of murdering a person whereby their tongue would be pulled through a hole cut into their neck.
Escobar has become revered among the peasants to whom he provided financial support, in building schools, hospitals and a wide range of premises in the poorest parts of Colombia. Among them, he came to be called "Don Pablito".
NAME: Pablo Escobar / BORN: 01/12/1949 / BIRTH PLACE: Colombia
the Biography Channel
Escobar was born the son of a teacher and a peasant. Still in school he began his criminal career with the theft of tombstones that he sold to smugglers from Panama.
In the early 1970s he entered the cocaine trade. Under his leadership large amounts of coca paste were purchased in Bolivia and Peru, processed and taken to the United States.
Escobar collaborated with other criminals from the Medellin area. In addition he profited from the business of other dealers and smugglers.
In his last years, Escobar removed himself from direct involvement in drug trafficking. Instead he claimed profits from cocaine dealers through a kind of taxation system, which he considered a compensation for his efforts to have the American-Colombian extradition treaty removed.
Escobar invested his ill gotten gains in real estate, but he also acted as sponsor of charity projects and soccer clubs which earned him popularity and political standing, including a seat in parliament.
But the origin of his wealth became an issue of public debate and the U.S. increased pressure on Colombia to extradite him. By means of terror Escobar tried to influence politicians towards writing a no-extradition clause into the constitution and to grant amnesty to drug barons in exchange for giving up the drug trade.
The terror campaign initiated by Escobar claimed the lives of politicians, civil servants, journalists and ordinary citizens. It turned public opinion against him and caused a break-up of the alliance of drug traffickers.
After one year in prison, where Escobar had sought refuge from assassins, followed by several more months on the run, he was shot to death by members of a special police unit in 1993.
Pablo Escobar - Article
From The Urban Dictionary
Pablo is the inventor of the Colombian neck-tie: slitting a man's throat and pulling his tongue out through the hole. Such are the accomplishments of history's greatest cocaine mogul. Thanks to his tireless efforts in the creation, harvesting, and distribution of cocaine throughout North and South America, Escobar became a multi-billionaire and the progenitor of a booming drug empire that confounded the Colombian government, the American Military, and Nancy Reagan.
couldn't stop Pablo. Ronnie couldn't kill Pablo. George the First sent the military
after Pablo, but ultimately couldn't take him down either. Perhaps he should simply
have asked his son to sniff out a lead.
Pablo started out as a poor boy in a poor town in poor Colombia. He was born in Rionegro, just a day's walk from the eventual headquarters of his empire. For the people of Medellin, the urban namesake of Pablo's cocaine cartel, Escobar would become a hero, a builder of hospitals, and a leader of men. For American yuppies, he would become a facilitator of all-night orgies, nose bleeds, and Sammy Davis, Jr..
In the early 60's, Colombian farmers grew and sold coca plants and extracts to outside interests, never really paying attention to what the vegetation was used for. When Escobar came of age in the late 60's, he quickly realized that all this coca was being snorted up the noses of the rapidly expanding drug culture in America. As such, he decided that the best way to make money off of the sale and processing was to control all sides of the business.
He quickly took over the coca fields around Medellin, paying farmers and workers double what they were making on their own. Escobar then opened processing labs and facilities nearby to turn the plants into sweet, sweet nose candy. Finally, he sent friends and relatives north to America as cocaine Amway salesmen. It's not a pyramid scheme! It's a party, man!
By the mid 70's, Escobar's efforts allowed entire packs of sweaty bald guys to get their rocks off in the bathrooms of Studio 54.
the United State's government wasn't getting any blow jobs from teenaged coke
whores. In a jealous rage, it sent the DEA to shoot communis... er, drug dealers
in South America. By the time Reagan was in the white house, Escobar was forced
to hide his refining and processing facilities.
But by 1982, Pablo Escobar was raking in billions of dollars from American coke heads, and he used those funds to win the hearts and minds of Medellin residents. He built hospitals, schools, and low income housing projects for his loyal workers. By years end, he was even elected to a seat in the Colombian congress.
No lawyer would prosecute him, no judge would hear a trial against him. Pablo was untouchable thanks to mountains of cash and walls made of armed goons. Yet for all his wealth, he was still hounded by a singular, mindless, unshakable enemy: mildew.
Escobar was positively phobic of dirty toilets. His bathroom was private; his only, and it had the be cleaned by hand three times a day. His home was kept spotless, and he took great pains to insure no blood got on the carpet when he shot business partners in the head; a cliche that has spilled over into many movies.
In 1989, Forbes magazine listed Escobar as the seventh richest man in the world.
Despite his wealth, Pablo was living the life of a fugitive. There were arrest warrants issued for him in both Colombia and the United States. He was offered clemency if he turned himself into the Colombian authorities and gave up his empire. After a botched assassination attempt by a rival cartel, Pablo turned himself in to Colombian authorities.
Escobar renovated the Prison he chose for his stint in jail. The facility was on a hill top, and Escobar spent millions of dollars to turn it into his own personal fortress. When all was said and done, he was basically serving his time in a castle guarded by the military. He removed all cell doors and bars, had the bathrooms ripped out and replaced, and placed new parapets around the building for the guards. They weren't keeping him in; they were keeping everyone else out.
The US monitored Escobar's actions from outside the prison walls, unable to enter due to the highly motivated and bribed Colombian military prison guards. Pablo began conducting business by carrier pigeon and word of mouth, since he soon realized that his phone conversations were being tapped.
In 1992, Pablo left his swanky jail. His empire was being abused from all sides. His fields were burning, his dealers were changing teams, and the coke-fueled disco was giving way to the ecstasy-powered rave.
on the run, he placed a bounty on the heads of all police officers, American citizens,
and military personnel within Medellin. He paid $300 a head. For the poor folks
of this Colombian town, the bounty was a god-send. Dozens of cops and officials
were slaughtered and decapitated while Pablo was on the run.
It was easy to spot Pablo's hideouts after he'd left them; they were all run-down houses with shiny new bathrooms. In 1993, Pablo Escobar made a cell phone call from an apartment building in Medellin. The Colombian secret police stormed the building and shot Escobar dead within moments.