Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pablo Escobar's Bloody Trail in Bogotá

The tomb of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in Bogotá's Central Cemetery. One of Escobar's assassins shot him while campaigning in south Bogotá in 1989.
Escobar, lord of evil.
Cocaine king Pablo Escobar is back in the news, thanks to a TV miniseries about his life called 'Pablo Escobar, Lord of Evil.'

Escobar was born and lived in Medellin, where he built a narco empire and wrought havoc - altho he also made himself a folk hero by distributing jobs and money to the city's poor.

Here in Bogotá, Escobar, who had no qualms about committing mass-murder, also left a trail of tragedy and terror.

1985: The Justice Palace on Plaza Bolivar in flames. 
In 1985, the M-19 guerrillas invaded the Justice Palace on Plaza Bolivar and took the magistrates hostage. The attack and ensuing military counter-attack ended with more than 100 people dead, including 11 of the 12 justices, and the building in flames. According to lots of evidence, Escobar helped finance the attack because he shared the M-19's opposition to the practice of extraditing Colombian drug traffickers to the U.S. for trial, and in order to destroy the documentary evidence inside the Justice Palace building.

The Congress building on Plaza Bolivar,
where Escobar briefly held a seat.
Ironically, just three years before, Escobar, who had been elected an alternative congressman, had taken a seat in the Congress building on the plaza's south side. Reportedly, people rushed to get out of his way in the passageways.

In 1986, Escobar's assassins shot and killed Guillermo Cano, publisher of the El Espectador newspaper, which had bravely editorialized against the drug lords. But that wasn't enough for Escobar. Three years later, he bombed the newspaper's printing plant. El Espectador has never since recovered completely . For two decades after, it published only as a weekly.

Aftermath of the DAS bombing. 
That same year, Escobar car bombed the DAS, or secret police, headquarters in Bogotá, destroying the building and killing 60 people and injuring 600.

Just a sample of the Lord of Evil's doings in Bogotá.

Escobar finally gets his own medicine:
Dead on a Medellin rooftop.
For the record, Canal Capital is doing its own series, about Escobar's victims.

Residencias Tequendema, in Bogotá's Centro Internacional, was used by the government to hold Escobar's wife and children during the final phase of the hunt for the cartel leader in 1993. Escobar's son was here during the cellphone conversation which enabled the hit squad to locate Escobar in Medellin and shoot him down on a rooftop.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Carlito said...

There are more trails, like the car bomb at Colpatria building and Centro 93 car bomb. Perhaps one of the most remembered was the killing in 1984 here in Bogotá of Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, Minsiter of Justice, that's when Escobar began to kill high profile people and the milestone of the war between Escobar and the State.

Miguel said...

Thanks for the additional facts. I hadn't even heard of the Colpatria bombing.

Of course, many of Escobar's attacks, like the Galan assassination, were carried out in conspiracy with other groups, such as the paramilitaries or rival political groups.