At the height of his career, Pablo Escobar was supplying 80% of the famous white substance that was available in the United States. It was at this time that Forbes magazine listed him and his partners as some of the richest men in the world. Simultaneously Escobar was being hunted down by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation for his blatant disregard for the law and human life.
Aside from being a kingpin, Escobar was involved in the Colombian government and was a well-known philanthropist across the nation. When they were shipping the highest amount of cocaine in the mid-80s the Medellin cartel were sending an approximated 11 tons per flight to the United States. Pablo Escobar’s brother Roberto Gaviria stated once that they not only used planes but also submarines to ship the expensive and highly illegal cargo.
Escobar was shot dead on December 2, 1993, just one day after his birthday. After he was assassinated his family dispersed, with his immediate family fleeing and extended family remaining in war-torn Medellin, Colombia to pick up the pieces. The paths of his family that we cover below are interesting as they navigate the expansive violence that was carried out by their patriarch.
15. Sebastian Marroquin Wrote All About It
In 2014 Sebastian Marroquin released a book entitled Pablo Escobar: My Father where he revealed much of the softer side of murderous drug lord Pablo Escobar. There were many stories featured in the biography that no one had ever heard before for example Pablo Escobar was a Boy Scout who did community service. Escobar liked to camp on the weekends and watch cowboy movies with his friends before he got into being a conman. Marroquin reported in his book that Pablo Escobar’s first experiments in crime began in school with his cousin Gustavo Gaviria and that the two committed crime side by side until both of their untimely deaths. While in school, the young boys would steal the answers to their tests from teachers and then sell them for profit. After their success conning the school the two started stealing cars, robbing movie theater ticket booths, and stealing gravestones to resell them.
14. His Daughter is Invisible
While her older brother is filming documentaries, writing books, and creating Organic clothing companies; Manuela Escobar is living an almost invisible life. There are a couple of stories that are quite dated about the young woman regarding her whopping inheritance as well as the fact that her father burned money to keep her alive while they were on the run. She has remained almost completely out of the spotlight in the years since the family settled in Argentina and it is proposed that she has changed her name to stay even farther away from the infamous reputation of her Colombian narco father. Although there is very little to no reporting on her there was a book entitled Cierra los Ojos, Princesa released by Jose Alejandro Castano in 2012. Even with the release of this book that explored interviews with family members, Manuela Escobar maintains a more mysterious identity than anyone else in their family.
13. Escobar Henao
The most prominent public figure from the Escobar family is Sebastian Marroquin, formerly Juan Pablo Escobar. In 2010 the young man designed a clothing line that sells jeans and printed t-shirts and is completely organic, the company sells jeans and printed t-shirts. The clothing line is called Escobar Henao and uses photos and printed documents of his father on the clothing.
The company has become popular in places like Mexico, Spain, and Austria; producing over 10,000 shirts. Marroquin had hopes that clothing line could turn a dark family history to a time of reflection and peace. Despite success in other Spanish speaking countries, Marroquin made it clear that the line would never be sold in Colombia. The factory is based in Colombia but Marroquin does not want this line to make money off of the grief of any Colombian. Escobar Henao isn’t the first Colombian based venture that collects off of Pablo Escobar’s estate, in 2007 the tourism sector opened up Escobar’s mansion as a theme park to honor the victims of his crimes.
12. Roberto Gaviria Wants Narcos Money
The second season of Narcos was set to air in September of 2016 but just before Roberto Gaviria, brother of Pablo Escobar, became so upset that he turned to the media. This is because Netflix had supposedly offered him the final cut of the show before it went to the masses, and they didn’t follow through. He has since completely slammed the series for their historical inaccuracies as well as their casting choices. Gaviria believes that since Moura, the actor who plays Escobar in the series, is Brazilian and an unknown face in Hollywood he doesn’t deserve to play the Colombian cocaine king. The man filed a lawsuit seeking $1 billion from the streaming movie giants at Netflix citing that they were using his life story without his permission. Grounds for the case are that he believes that no show can exist about Pablo Escobar that isn’t endorsed by Escobar Inc.
11. Sebastian Marroquin Believes Escobar Killed Himself
While doing interviews to promote his book Marroquin mentioned that he is absolutely certain that Pablo Escobar killed himself before the Colombian police and Federal agents were able to. In this interview, he also accused the coroners of faking the autopsy report that revealed police had shot Escobar dead. Marroquin stated that it had always been Pablo Escobar’s plan to off himself before anyone ever had the opportunity to do so. Another reason that Marroquin believes his father was the one who put the defining bullet into his own head is that Escobar called him on the phone only 10 minutes before he passed away. Before this day Escobar had been too paranoid to call the boy, but this phone call marks the fact that Escobar no longer felt he needed to hide. Lastly, Marroquin claims that the drug kingpin took his own life to save his family from retaliation or being taken hostage. In this raucous interview, Marroquin also states that the US government bought cocaine from Escobar, so maybe he was just trying to make headlines.
10. Mother & Son Were Arrested in 2000
It was almost exactly six years to the day after the assassination of Pablo Escobar that his wife and son were arrested in their secret home in Argentina. They were cuffed and taken downtown on suspicion of money laundering. The police stated that they had been monitoring the family’s home in the middle-class neighborhood of Nunez on suspicion of money laundering for weeks before the arrest. Although they do admit that they wished they could have monitored them longer. The timeline of the arrest was pushed forward when a popular television show reported the family’s presence in the country. The President of Argentina, Carlos Menem (seen above), spoke out to the people of Argentina after the arrest citing fear of drug lords making their way into Argentina. He believed that investigation was necessary to make sure that there was no drug activity involved with the family’s presence. They were not released for over a year despite no evidence of wrongdoing.
9. Sebastian Marroquin Hates Narcos
Unlike his money hungry uncle Sebastian Marroquin hates Netflix show Narcos because it glorifies his father’s brutal reign over Colombia. He has also stated that the show is riddled with errors and falsities. In an interview with Mirror Online Marroquin states that his father had nothing to do with the death of Colombian guerrilla fighter Ivan Marino Ospina as depicted in season one. He added that Netflix was false when they showed Escobar expanding his drug trade to Europe. Eighty percent of the product trafficked by the Medellin cartel was sent to the United States and Marroquin believed there was no need to expand into European territory since Americans wanted all of the drugs. The series also claims that Escobar’s wife Maria was an accomplice in his crimes which Marroquin states is completely false. Most of all Marroquin wants everyone who watches the show to remember that despite having money and power Pablo Escobar killed thousands upon thousands and devastated hundreds of families, he is nothing to look up to.
8. Luz Maria Escobar Leaves Letters for His Victims
In an attempt to make up for the travesty of murders that her brother Pablo Escobar inflicted on the world Luz leaves letters on the graves of his victims. She says that every day she thinks about the sadness that he has spread across the world and it devastates her. Ms. Escobar was in no way involved in the drug enterprise that made her brothers billionaires in the 1980’s. She still resides in the Medellin, the family’s hometown where her brother made his fortune. Luz Maria Escobar has also spoken out about how Pablo let the family in on his new job in 1980. He sat them down to inform them he had made a will because he was in the mafia, and as he stated, men in the mafia go down by bullets. She was saddened to see this venture leave a painful, historical scar on her beloved home country.
7. Virginia Vallejo Became a Rat
For four years Virginia Vallejo was the arm candy and known mistress of Pablo Escobar. The journalist, television anchorwoman, media personality and socialite dated Escobar from 1983 to 1987. It was in July of 2006 that Vallejo offered her testimony in the case of Alberto Santofimio who was on trial for the conspiracy regarding the assassination of Luis Carlos Galan. The presidential candidate was killed by Pablo Escobar on August 18, 1989.
In only a week Prosecutor Edgardo Jose Maya Villazon dropped the case citing “insufficient evidence”. Several key witnesses and most of Escobar’s involved hitmen had been assassinated when Virginia Vallejo reached out to the United States in hopes of finding political asylum. She bartered with the government to receive asylum in exchange for information regarding associates of Escobar as well as Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, the brothers running Cali cartel at the time. When she pleaded the brothers’ trial was set to start in just a couple of weeks so it was in their best interest to let her into the country.
6. Maria Victoria Henao Vallejo Changed Her Name
After being refused the ability to stay in other countries the family landed in Argentina following Pablo Escobar’s death. For six years the family was able to live anonymously under their new identities and Juan Pablo got a degree in architecture. In 1999 Argentinian authorities realized that Maria Isabel Santos Caballero was Maria Victoria Henao Vallejo and in 2000 the mother was arrested. She was imprisoned for over a year before the Argentinian police released her for lack of evidence. After being released she poignantly said “I am a prisoner in Argentina for being Colombian. They want to try the ghost of Pablo Escobar because they want to prove that Argentina is combatting drug trafficking.” as reported by Bustle. Despite years of silence, Maria was interviewed in Sins of My Father, the 2014 documentary made in part by her son Sebastian Marroquin. The danger that the family faced after Escobar’s death was so real that they had to find brand new identities in order to live a normal life.
5. “Sins of My Father” Documentary
Before the release of his 2014 written biography Pablo Escobar: My Father Sebastian Marroquin helped create a documentary film entitled Sins of My Father. In the film, Marroquin visits the families of the people his father killed or had assassinated and apologizes for these crimes. The documentary was directed by Nicolas Entel, an Argentine-Colombian filmmaker. It all begins right after Escobar’s assassination when the family fled, eventually landing in Argentina. At this point, there was a $4 million price on each of their heads. Approximately one full decade after Escobar’s demise his wife and son speak about their family life.
Marroquin then visits Colombia to make amends for the crimes of his father, specifically the assassinations of Luis Carlos Galan and Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla. The young man was denied by many filmmakers before finding Entel, this director was the one who brought apologies into the mix. The film was meant to make the statement that the violence had ended with the previous generation.
4. Correcting Escobar’s Violent Turmoil
After a bullet in the head took out Pablo Escobar in 1993 many looked to his son Juan Pablo to take over has his successor. The teenage boy knew in those months fleeing Colombia, Germany, and Venezuela that he did not want to continue the cycle of violence that his father had begun. Instead Juan Pablo, now named Sebastian Marroquin, decided to reach out in hopes of inspiring peace where Pablo Escobar had devastated Colombian families. Marroquin travels the world speaking to people about his father, but he doesn’t do so to idolize him. The speeches are meant to help others learn from his father’s terrible mistakes. Of his family, Marroquin is the only one that regularly speaks and takes interviews, a feat that he decided to take on in order to incite peace and reconciliation by being open when asking for forgiveness on behalf of his father.
3. Roberto Gaviria Thinks He Cured HIV
It was 2014 when a quippyV ice reporter went on the Pablo Escobar tour in Colombia that ended in a tour of Pablo Escobar’s final home complete with a tour from his brother Roberto Gaviria. On the tour, there is a question and answer portion where those touring through the home adorned with photos of a young Escobar can ask his brother whatever they want. In this portion of the tour Gaviria made it clear that he did not actually kill anyone and reported that he only handled the business side of the endeavor. But the odd turn in this story is when Gaviria told the group that he was curing HIV with horses.
He claims that after his release from prison in 2003 he has gained valuable medical knowledge from caring for his horses. Gaviria even believes that he has cured HIV in his research, a claim that is not only strange but most definitely false, right?
2. Hermilda de los Dolores Gaviria Berrío Supported Him Until the Day She Died
Pablo Escobar was responsible for the death of thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of people and controlled the largest drug trade that the world had ever seen at the time. Despite all of this crime Pablo Escobar’s mother, Hermilda de los Dolores Gaviria Berrio, supported him and never accepted him as a criminal.
In an interview for the documentary “The Private Archives of Pablo Escobar” Hermilda said “I didn’t believe he was a criminal and I’ve never thought so. I will never be ashamed of being Pablo’s mother.” She passed away at the age of 89 in the same Medellin village where her son was killed.
1. They Were Hunted By Death Squads For Their Name
After taking that fatal shot to the head on the rooftops of Medellin in 1993 Pablo Escobar’s family had to flee for their lives. The family first fled to Germany and were denied entry, as the Interior Ministry believed that it would damage “substantial interests” of the Germans. They had to travel to several countries before they were finally accepted into Argentina. When Pablo Escobar’s wife, son, and daughter arrived in Argentina they quickly changed their names in an attempt to live a quiet life. The family fled because they were threatened by a death squad. In 1993 after Escobar’s death every Narco wanted to be the next Escobar and they thought that was possible by killing and displaying the rest of the Escobar family. The group that threatened the family called themselves People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar and were thought to be started by the rival Cali drug cartel.
bustle.com, reference.com, quora.com, huffingtonpost.com, articles.latimes.com