Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Biographies....

One of the people that I have been reading about of late is Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria - who is better known as Pablo Escobar. I do not only read about people who have contributed positively towards society, but in fact I read about almost all people. It is a unique experience to understand and see things from another person's point of view. This week, the article is about the 'World's Most Famous Drug Dealer'. Enjoy the read:-

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, a.k.a. El Patrón or El Doctor

Born: December 1, 1949, Rionegro, Antioquia
Died: December 2, 1993 (aged 44), Medellín
Alias(es): El Patrón, El Doctor
Charge(s): Drug trafficking and smuggling, racketeering, money laundering, murder
Status: Deceased
Occupation: Head of the Medellín Cartel
Spouse: Maria Victoria Henao de Escobar
Children: Juan Pablo and Manuela Escobar

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, a.k.a. El Patrón or El Doctor (December 1, 1949 – December 2, 1993) gained world infamy as a Colombian drug dealer. Escobar became so wealthy from the drug trade that in 1989 Forbes magazine listed him as the seventh richest man in the world. He was widely considered to be one of the most ambitious and powerful drug dealers in history. His brutal ruthlessness was also legendary: he would kill anyone who stood in his way and was responsible for the killing of 30 judges, 457 policemen, and other deaths at a rate of 20 each day for two months.
Pablo Escobar began his criminal life while he was still in school by stealing tombstones and selling them to smugglers from Panama. When he was a teenager he began to steal cars from the streets of Medellín. He became involved in other rackets which led him to become a powerful figure in his area. He also allegedly stole headstones from graveyards and sold them in other villages of the department of Antioquia (this allegation has never been proven). He eventually moved into the cocaine business and began building an enormous drug empire during the 1970s, which eventually became known as the Medellín Cartel.
His reputation grew after a well known Medellín drug dealer named Fabio Restrepo was murdered in 1975, reportedly by Escobar, from whom he had purchased 14 kilograms of cocaine, after which all of Restrepo's men were informed that they were to work for Escobar. In May 1976, Escobar and several of his men were arrested after returning from a drug run to Ecuador. As the case against Escobar was being made, he tried to bribe the judge but was unsuccessful. After many months of legal wrangling, Escobar had the two arresting officers killed and the case was dropped. Here began his pattern of dealing with the authorities by either bribing them or killing them.

In 1989, at the height of his empire's power, Forbes magazine estimated Escobar to be the seventh-richest man in the world; the Medellín cartel was taking in up to $30 billion annually and controlled 80 percent of the global cocaine market.


While seen as an enemy of the United States and Colombian governments, Escobar was a hero to many in Medellín (especially people from the slums); he was a natural at public relations and he worked to create goodwill among Colombia's poor. A lifelong sports fan, he was credited with building football fields and multi-sports courts, sponsoring also little league football (soccer) teams as well as Atletico Nacional. Pablo Escobar was also responsible for the construction of many churches in Medellín, which gained him popularity inside the local Roman Catholic Church. He worked hard to cultivate his Robin Hood image and frequently distributed money to the poor. He would also build houses for the poor, gaining followers on his way. The population of Medellín often helped Escobar by serving as lookouts, hiding information from the authorities, or doing whatever else they could do to protect him.
In March 1976 at the age of 27, Escobar married Maria Victoria when she was 15 years old. Together they had two children: Juan Pablo and Manuela. Escobar was known to have affairs, and as time went on he increasingly preferred teen and underage girls. Pablo Escobar created and lived in a luxurious estate called Hacienda Napoles (Spanish for Naples Ranch) and had planned to construct a Greek-style citadel near it. Construction of the citadel was started but was never finished. The ranch, the zoo and the citadel were expropriated by the government and given to low-income families in the 1990s under a law called extinción de dominio (domain extinction).
One of Escobar's surviving relatives is his cousin José Obdulio Gaviria. Former member of the political movement Firmes, which supported the 1982 presidential aspiration of leftwing politician Gerardo Molina, José Obdulio Gaviria became politically close to Álvaro Uribe, within the Colombian Liberal Party in Antioquia. Two of Gaviria's brothers were detained in the U.S. during 1983 on drug-related charges. After Uribe's election in 2002, Gaviria became one of his presidential advisors and has been said to be his "ideologue", often defending Uribe's government before the media. According to La Otra Verdad journalist Julio César García Vásquez, Escobar's and Uribe's families are genealogically related, sharing a distant ancestor.
The war against Escobar ended on December 2, 1993, as he tried to elude the Search Bloc one more time. Using radio triangulation technology provided as part of the United States efforts, a Colombian electronic surveillance team found him hiding in a middle-class barrio in Medellín.
The shootout between Escobar and the Search Bloc personnel ensued after the house was located. How Escobar was killed during the confrontation has been debated but it is known that he was cornered on the rooftops of Medellín and after a prolonged gunfight, suffered gunshots to the leg, torso, and the fatal one in his ear. It has never been proven who actually fired the final shot into Escobar's head, whether this shot was made during the gunfight or as part of possible execution, and there is wide speculation about the subject.

Columbian policemen posing by Pablo's dead body

After Escobar's death, the Medellín Cartel fragmented and the cocaine market soon became dominated by the rival Cali Cartel, until the mid-1990s when its leaders, too, were either killed or captured by the government.

The Robin Hood image that he had cultivated continued to have lasting influence in Medellín, as many there, especially many of the city's poor that had been aided by him while he was alive, lamented his death.

On October 28, 2006, Escobar's body was exhumed by request of his nephew Nicolás Escobar, two days after the death of mother Hermilda Gaviria (who opposed exhumation) to verify that the body in the tomb was in fact that of Escobar and also to collect DNA for a paternity test claim. According to the report by the El Tiempo newspaper, Escobar's ex-wife Maria Victoria was present recording the exhumation with a video camera. Some of the family members believe that Escobar could have committed suicide.

This article is courtesy of research from the sites below:-

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