It's often said that we're living through a new golden age of TV; The latest series to aim for the zenith occupied by Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Hannibal is the Netflix original series, Narcos. The show charts the staggering rise from a farmer's son to all-powerful drug lord of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian psychopath who practically ruled the country between the 1970s and '90s. No matter how brilliant the show is, however, it would be an achievement to cram in all the insane facts and figures about Escobar's life without leading to an epic run-time.
Pablo Escobar was born in December, 1949, to a poor farmer and an elementary school teacher. His inauspicious beginnings certainly didn't limit his ambition; he grew up telling friends that he would be a millionaire by 22 and the future President of Columbia. He found novel ways to earn cash during his teens, filing names off headstones to steal and sell to smugglers and selling contraband cigarettes. By the time he moved into the drug trafficking trade in the mid-70's, his thirst for power and money was unstoppable.
As the head of the Medellin cartel, Escobar was to become the richest criminal in history by the time he met his end in a shoot-out with the Colombian National Police. To explore the dizzying figures behind his empire is to peer into another world entirely, one which is tinged with cocaine madness - and a huge amount of blood.
10 He Imported Tonnes Of Product
9 He May Have Killed Himself
8 He Lived Extravagantly
7 He Offered To Pay Off Columbia's National Debt
6 Some Colombians View Him As A 'Robin Hood'
5 He Murdered Up To 4,000 People
4 He Built His Own Jail
3 He Burned $2 Million As Fuel
2 Rats Ate Billions Of His Earnings
1 He Was Making $420 Million Per Week
So, just how much was Pablo Escobar worth in total? Though he once claimed to merely be "a decent man who exports flowers", he was estimated to be making up to $60 million per day at the height of the Medellin cartel's powers. When the Forbes list was released in 1989, they estimated his wealth at $25 billion, though this may have increased to around $30 billion by the time of his death. As a man who ran a not-exactly-legitimate business, we can only deal in estimates but the fact that Escobar once bought a Learjet solely to transport his cash around speaks volumes. As you sit down to enjoy the life of Pablo Escobar through Narcos, just remember: crime doesn't pay, kids.
Sources: biography.com, gq-magazine.co.uk, theguardian.com
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