Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celebrating the 15th Birthday of Pablo Escobar's Death

Pablo Escobar shot About 15 years ago on December 2 1993, Pablo Escobar was shot by combined Colombian and US American police forces on the roof tops of Medellin.

Pablo Escobar was one of the biggest gangsters in world history. In the '70-ies he created a drug imperia known as the Medellin Cartel. He is responsible for killing 30 judges, 457 police men and over 4,000 people overall. He also killed the Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan and bombed an Avianca flight and the DAS building in Bogota.

Pablo become so wealthy from drug trade that in 1989 the Forbes Magazine listed him as the seventh richest man in the world with a wealth close to $25 Billion US.

Pablo Escobar's Grave After what seemed like and endless manhunt, Pablo was finally cornered and shot by joined Colombian and US American police forces on the rooftops in a middle class neighborhood in Medellin.

In Medellin, Pablo Escobar for many still has a Robin Hood-like image, especially among the poor. He was an expert at public relations, being a soccer fanatic himself he built soccer fields and many churches. There are many rumors about his death. There are speculations, mostly driven by his brother that he actually killed himself with a shot through his ears. I heard some Paisas saying that he's not even dead. This kind of reminded me of the "Elvis is Alive" rumors we hear about every once in a while.

Painting Pablo Escobar's Death by Botero I'm always puzzled that there are no obvious traces of Pablo Escobar in Medellin. People still don't want to talk about him. I think there should be a Pablo Escobar museum to deal with his impact on Medellin in a more pro-active manner. For some time I was thinking about putting together a "Pablo Escobar" tour for tourists.

Today, Medellin is a very different city. I don't question that the drug trade is still going on. But the current drug bosses keep a lot lower of a profile. Today, there are about 30 homicides in Medellin per 100,000 residents. That's about the rate of Philadelphia. A lot of the violence has moved to Cali and to Caracas, Venezuela.

Might Pablo Escobar rest in peace if you wish, but let's acknowledge the impact he had on the modern Colombian history and on Medellin.

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