The next day, we went on a Pablo Escobar tour. I didn’t know too much about the guy, except that he was a huge drug lord in Colombia during his time. However I learned a lot from this tour and found it very interesting, he had a profound effect on the city.
The tour was expensive; costed $60,000 pesos. Our other hostel had the tour for $35,000 but apparently with the more expensive tour we were able to meet his brother and see his house. We were too lazy to price shop so we just went with them.
After stopping at a few more hostels and grabbing more people, we had a full van and started the tour. As we drove between places, the guide told us about the history.
Basically, Pablo Escobar was a huge cocaine giant from the late 70s until 1993 when he was shot and killed. He was on the Forbes list as the 3rd richest man in the world. He had I think something like 60 or 70 planes at the time of his death that did deliveries every single day and came back with cash. He supplied the US with 80% of their cocaine. He had 10 billion dollars to his name when he was finally shot and killed. He basically ran Medellin as he had more money and power than the government.
Our first stop was one of his first houses, where he would stay with 10-20 of his body guards. Apparently back then, it was a very rich/exclusive area, now it is just a broken down building off of a main road.
Our next stop was the burial site of Pablo, as well as his cousins and uncles etc. He wanted to be burried in Medellin, as he believed that the city would watch over him, as he had watched over them during his life.
His life was very controversial. During his reign of power, he ordered the death of over 10,000 people in Colombia and another 40,000 outside Colombia. Anyone who go in his way he had killed. He had an entire airliner exploded, as well as set off bombs at the equivalent of the FBI to Colombia. Reporters who wrote things he didn’t like he had killed. Judges, police offers, anyone who had an anti-drug agenda.
He had 4 presidential candidates murdered; one in particular showed a lot of hope for Colombia and people were very excited about him and really liked him, and Pablo had him murdered during a speech.
However, at the same time Pablo was committing this horrible crimes, he was helping the country in a big way. He was using some of his money to help the poor who otherwise had no other way of living a decent life. He built tons of housing for the people for free. So the poor loved him and watched out for him. When he was getting close to getting caught, the people would alert him and he would run and hide somewhere else.
Finally he turned himself in and was sent to “jail”. Apparently this jail was a complete joke; it only had 3 walls, and was built according to his instructions. He continued to run his business from within the “prison” and could freely come and go as he pleased. It was a palace.. extremely luxurious. His friends came and visited him whenever he pleased.
The next stop was Roberto Escobar’s house. This was his brother, who is still alive and well. There was sort of a museum built into his house, in the entry way, garage, and dining room. The rest of the house he lived in. Kind of strange.
His house was located high up on a hill in an affluent area of the city (saw a Mercedes driving in the same way and a Porsche dealership across the street)
Although the house was definitely nice, it was kind of falling apart here and there like everything else. There was a boat out front that was probably a brand new beautiful boat back in the day, but was just sitting in his yard falling apart now.
Pablo owned houses all over the world, and during the time when he was running all the time, he stopped at this house 5 different times to see his brother.
His brother had been arrested for 11 years and was released in 2002. Roberto and run the financial end of the business along side Pablo, they were very close. Although Pablo had no problem killing other people, he valued his very strongly and was very close to them.
This desk stashed away 2 million dollars, $1 million in each opening in the sides.
The first car Pablo bought for drug running was still in the garage.
Also in the garage was a motorcycle. The significance of this motorcycle is this: One day during a run from the police Pablo ran across a kid with a motorcycle (above photo). He told the kid who he was and that he needed his motorcycle. The kid complied and Pablo got away safely.
Later, Pablo found out who the kid was and gave him a $50,000 truck. He was super loyal and I guess his word was never broken to anyone.
This guy had so much money; apparently he loved soccer. He used his soccer team to hide his drug money. For this reason, they had tons of money to work with to obtain the best players all over the world, and paid them very well to keep them.
He was friends with a large drug lord at the time in Mexico, and he told him to fly his favorite players to his ranch. They both compiled teams with the best soccer players around the world. They would then bet on the games 1-2 million dollars, on top of paying the players extremely well.
Roberto stuck around for a while to answer our questions, the guide translated back and forth for us.
Some questions that were brought up was how he was financially, and if he was worried about being attacked by anyone.
Roberto’s answer was that he was all set financially, and for 3 or 4 more generations. He had come to an agreement with the government that they could keep half the money and negotiated his jail sentence. All the proceeds from the tour are used for a fund towards Colombian people with HIV. I guess he wanted a chance to do some good with his life.
He said he is not worried about being hurt by anyone, as most people don’t recognize him and the ones that do realize he is a changed person and realize he is now doing good with his life.
Overall a really cool experience and worth doing.