The complex legacy of Pablo Escobar: the rise and decline, part 1

Family background and early life

Pablo Escobar was born on December 1, 1949, as Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria in the city of Rionegro in the department of Antioquia in Colombia. He is known to history as Pablo Escobar. Abel de Jesus Dari Escobar Echeverri was his father. He was a poor farmer who often worked as a farmhand on other people’s plots to make money for his large family of seven children. Pablo was the third child in the family. Hermilda de Los Dolores Gaviria Berrio was Pablo’s mother. She raised their seven children and also worked as an elementary school teacher in the area.

Migration to Medellin

Even though Pablo was born in Rionegro, his family moved to Medellin when he was still very young. It is interesting to think about how this Colombian city, which Pablo would become so closely linked to, has grown over time. In the 1610s, the Spanish came to the area and started to build a village with people of different races. Over the next two hundred years, it steadily grew to the point where, when the Republic of Gran Colombia, which is now Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama, declared its independence from Spain in 1819, Medellin was already the capital of the region. It was in the northwest of Colombia, in the Aburrá Valley, next to the Andes Mountains. Latin America grew economically and population-wise in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and Medellin grew along with it. Medellin’s growth as an industrial hub caused the population to rise from about 60,000 in 1905 to over 300,000 by the time Pablo was born. It kept growing after that. When Pablo was in his early twenties, there were already more than a million people living in the city. Medellin was now the industrial capital of the country and the second largest city. He got involved in the many criminal businesses that had sprung up all over Medellin because of the city’s extreme poverty.

Involvement in gang and kicking out from school

By the time he was 14, he was in a gang and was quickly kicked out of school. He also got into a few fights with other gang members. One of these got him into a fight with Julio Tulio Garces, which he lost, but Pablo wasn’t scared. Pablo got into a fight with Julio Gaviria again, and this time he pulled out a gun and shot Gaviria in the foot. The police were called, and Pablo spent his first few nights in a Colombian prison. And while they were teenagers, he and some of his friends were involved in a number of minor crimes. In some versions of the story, they steal gravestones, sand down the fronts where the names are written, and then sell them as new. Some people think Pablo was running a business to sell fake college and high school diplomas. In these stories about his early life, it’s hard to tell the difference between what is true and what is made up.

Colombia politics

The history of Colombia in the 20th century and the growth of the drug trade there must be seen in light of Pablo Escobar’s troubled life after that. In some ways, it’s impossible to separate drugs and politics in modern Colombia. There are two main political parties in the country: Liberals and Conservatives. The United States of America has always watched and meddled in the country’s politics. In the beginning, this interventionism, which was spread throughout Latin America because of the Monroe Doctrine, which saw the Americas as a zone of US influence, was focused on allowing US access to the Isthmus of Panama. However, after Panama separated from Colombia in the early 1900s, this became less of an issue. During these decades, conservative politicians often sided with American businesses that wanted to control the trade of goods like bananas, coffee, and other things in Central and South America. The country ended up with an economy that was far behind and a lot of poor people. But not long before Pablo was born, the country was ruled by populists because the Liberal party wanted to fix the country’s economic problems and make Colombia’s wealth more evenly distributed. The political instability in Colombia today can be traced back to 1948, the year Pablo was born. That’s when the populist politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was killed, which caused a big rift between Colombia’s Liberals and Conservatives. After that, there was a civil war for ten years called “La Violencia,” or “The Violence,” in which more than 200,000 people were killed across the country. Eventually, the two groups agreed to work together in an uneasy way to form a National Front where each party would take turns holding power.

Gorella war between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

This new government, with the help and encouragement of the US, started cracking down on the more left-leaning parts of Colombia’s politics, especially Leninist-Marxist Communist groups. This was done to keep Colombia from becoming an ally of Russia in the Americas, like Cuba recently did. As a result, a guerrilla war started in 1964 between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government. It has continued in some form or another to this day. Other paramilitary groups operating in rural areas of Colombia have also been involved in the so-called “Colombian Conflict.” Not long after, the FARC and other groups were in charge of a lot of rural Colombia. In the 1960s and early 1970s, all of this happened at the same time that the demand for illegal drugs was rising around the world, especially in the US and Europe. At first, marijuana was the drug of choice, but as time went on, cocaine, the powder made from the leaves of the coca plant, became the drug of choice because it was easier to transport and make more money from. Colombia has the perfect conditions for growing coca plants. The country’s vast rural jungles and rising crime rates in the 1960s made it the world’s centre for cocaine production very quickly. Even though groups like the FARC weren’t directly involved in growing and exporting cocaine at first, they did allow these activities to happen in the areas of Colombia they controlled, and they also taxed the people who made the drugs. This gave them money that they needed to keep fighting the government in a civil war by buying weapons and other supplies. A long time later, the FARC and other groups would even start making their own. Because of this, the political situation in Colombia in the second half of the 20th century cannot be separated from the production of cocaine during Pablo’s rise to power and at his peak.