Pablo Escobar, the once-dangerous and well-known drug lord, has become a great source of inspiration for Columbians. Over 80% of America’s hard drugs are thought to have been regulated and supplied by the narcotics kingpin. In the 1980s, Pablo imported hippopotamus from South Africa, which he kept in his narco-sanctuary. Pablo opened the sanctuary to the public for free in the Medellin and Bogota valleys, and it has remained a tourist attraction since then. The subject of Pablo Escobar is fascinating in that he was once regarded as a thief and a tainted member of society, but has since been glorified by entertainers who have cashed quite a substantial chunk of money from displaying his legacy through art (Lessing 1486-1494).
While alive, Pablo is believed to have murdered more than 4000 people. He was also arrested and castigated for several kidnapping cases and, more importantly, used corruption by influencing any institution that made attempts to contain him. With this kind of negative image, Pablo must be hated by everyone, but instead, locals loved him for his philanthropy of building houses for the poor as well as constructing hospitals. A lot of Columbians benefited from this generosity despite his unbecoming behavior. They even elected him to the Congress in 1982 for a position he was forced to resign later. Pablo was considered to be a monster though; his death has turned to be a fortune for people of Medellin. In fact, his image has contributed to the growing tourism activities in the region. However, even more than 20 years since his death, Pablos activities resulted in creation of a soft spot for entertainers to make vast fortunes from people. The entertainment industry is reaping from books, souvenirs, soap operas, and movies about his legacy (Rodgers 64-84).
Despite the criminal life of Pablo, the current society has glorified his acts by producing movies, books, and sculptures of this murderer. Pablos story has never been famous over the last two decades since he died in a violent shooting at a rooftop in his hideout (Lessing 1495-1501). However, Netflix has presented a ten-part television series narrating the rise and fall of the Colombian drug lord and kingpin. The UK has also produced another film called Paradise Lost showing the same story concerning Pablo Escobar.
Pablo Escobar was regarded as a brutal person, but his actions and life have continued to live on to the 21st century. Escobar controlled virtually the entire supply distribution channels of cocaine and other hard drugs sold in the USA. In fact, the Forbes magazine is to blame in part for the continued violent behavior of Pablo. The publication quantified his wealthy at an estimated $30 billion as well as appearing on the list of the most affluent men on the Earth. Some of the criminal acts perpetrated by Pablo include torture and murder of advocates, government officials, and journalists, kidnapping as well as the assassination of some presidential aspirants (Rodgers 64-84).
However, the narration of Pablos terrorist acts and activities is a way of illustrating to the broader community the negativity of involving in drug peddling and trade. In the first place, cross-border organized crime taints and shakes almost every part of our life (Lessing 5-6). Therefore, the art and movies shown in cinema theaters as well as the literature in books are supposed to educate people not to repeat past mistakes. Tourists and visitors are treated to various hangouts visited by Pablo in Medellin (Davis 52-61).
It was no doubt that Escobar had caused quite immense trouble for the Columbian authorities before his death (Lessing 6-8). Pablo started his criminal life while in school where he is said to have been stealing tombstones and reselling them, trading in illegitimate diplomas, falsified report cards, smuggled stereo equipment, robbed people cars an offense which led him to get arrested for the first time. What had started as a petty theft grew to become a severe criminal network. On release from jail, Pablo formed a drug smuggling network across Columbia and into America. The cartel he established terrorized people throughout Medellin, killing people carelessly, assassinating presidential aspirants and whoever came their way (Duncan 235-262).
Escobar is said to have made above four-hundred million dollars in a week from the sale of cocaine, which made him one of the wealthiest people in the entire country. Moreover, the Forbes magazine listed him as one of the richest people in the world. Once a son of a peasant farmer, Escobar, having amassed about $25 billion, led a lavish lifestyle owning luxurious planes, expensive homes, holding posh parties. Pablo is on record also by promising to pay off the Columbian debt of at least $10 billion if the government would not charge him for his criminal activities. Pablo is reported to have kept his daughter warm by burning more than two million dollars. Despite Pablo amassing such a tremendous amount of money, he could not manage to spend all of it as some were lost merely through destruction by rats annually (Lessing 1486-1516).
Pablo owned a palatial home worth more than sixty-three million dollars in Napoles which contained many features among them, an airstrip, a zoo, a tennis court, bullfighting arena, artificial lakes, dinosaur statues, soccer field, and remains of a burnt car set ablaze by a rival cartel. The zoo was open to the public for free where people would come to watch some of the wild animals he had imported. After his death, the home was looted by locals. However, the whole apartment is now converted to a tourist attraction site where tourists from every corner of the world can come and have a view of his lavish lifestyle, therefore, cashing in substantial income for the state (Fine & Juan 2016). However, after the death of Pablo, the Medellin Cartel together with Carlos Castano united forces to grab land, expand business, and consolidate the neoliberal development model in South America (Fine & Juan 14-15).
To justify his criminal activities, Pablo became philanthropic and generous to the people by building basic infrastructure such as stadia, hospitals, schools, and houses for the poor. These events gave Pablo popularity among the locals who elected him to the Congress. His election did not change his rogue behavior because he assassinated the justice Minister who had led a campaign to have Pablo resign (Rosen 58-72). In conclusion, from Pablos lifestyle mode of operation could not accommodate change. He was not ready to give up involving himself in criminal activities. Despite the illegitimate crimes he perpetrated, he also contributed towards the betterment of local schools, hospitals, and soccer stadia.
Davis, Rocío G. “Documentary Constructions of Filial Memory in Nathaniel Kahn’s My Architect and Nicolás Entel’s My Father, Pablo Escobar.” Journal of Film and Video 66.1, 2014, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/538635/. Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.
Duncan, Gustavo. “A political approach on Pablo Escobar.” Co-herencia 10.19, 2013,
http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?pid=S1794-58872013000200009&script=sci_arttext&tlng=pt, Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.
Fine, Ben, and Juan Pablo Durán. Social Capital: From the Gringos Tale to the Colombian Reality. No. 195, 2016, http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/22620/1/file112410.pdf, Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.
Lessing, Benjamin. “Logics of Violence in Criminal War.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59.8, 2015, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0022002715587100. Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.
Rodgers, Dennis. “Of Pandillas, Pirucas, and Pablo Escobar in the Barrio.” Politics and History of Violence and Crime in Central America. US: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/978-1-349-95067-6_3. Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.
Rosen, Jonathan D. “The War on Drugs in Colombia: A History of Failure.” New Approaches to Drug Policies. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9781137450999_4. Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.