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The Life of Pablo Escobar

by James Tang (299 views)
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Estimated reading time: 1.5 minutes

Background

If you don’t already know about Pablo Escobar, he was a central figure in the world of drugs and gang violence back in the 1990s and a huge part of the Colombian history. Escobar was a Colombian drug lord, classified as a narco-terrorist by the United States and was the key figure in the supply of up to 80% of cocaine in the United States. As expected, this made him one of the richest man alive, amassing well over 30 billion USD by the start of 1990.

 

His life didn’t begin as one that was absorbed in the criminal world. In fact, he was once like the general public, taking a degree in one of Medellin’s university. But that didn’t last long as he dropped out and soon began engaging in criminal activities. For the most part, he started out as an amateur before rising to power with his various tactics such as kidnapping and holding people for ransom. It wasn’t long before he went into the cocaine business and started planning routes of distribution to the united states.

 

What He Did To Command Respect

Commanding a drug empire was not easy and this meant that Escobar had to often resort to violence in order to get his way. His drug network was known as the Medellin Cartel and was one that wasn’t shy of competing with their competitors. There were large-scale massacres of civilians, police offices, politicians and even judges under the command of Escobar and all of it was done just to gain power on his side. Yet despite all that he had done, turning Columbia into the murder capital of the world, Escobar was still loved by the people, especially those in Western Columbia where the poor lived. Why would that be so?

 

Why People Loved Him

The answer was simple. Escobar understood the needs of the people -- he himself was once poor and came from humble origins. As such, when Escobar realized that he had far too much money to spend, he decided to give away his money directly to the poor. That was something that the poor had never gotten from the politicians and the rich, and Pablo knew that. It was not all out of goodwill that Escobar gave his money away though, as he understood that the power lied with the people. The money was a way of protection as he began to grow his critical mass of followers.

 

If you think that is all, then you are mistaken. Besides giving money, Pablo soon moved on to building entire buildings in neighborhoods, including infrastructure such as football fields and houses for the poor. If someone gave you all that you really needed in life, was it that difficult to respect him? Of course not. Part of the reason why civilians respected Escobar despite all his evil doings was that they benefited from it. In a world where money is king, and aid was nowhere in sight, Escobar was the savior to these people.