Sunday, November 5, 2017

Why Can't They Leave It Behind?

Juan Pablo Escobar, now Sebastian Marroquin.
Shortly after narco kingpin Pablo Escobar was shot to death on a Medellin rooftop in Dec. 1993, his wife and two children fled, first to Mozambique and then to Buenos Aires Argentina, where they have lived since, under different names.

In Argentina, by many accounts, Juan Pablo became a successful architect, designing projects both there and in Bogotá. He has also participated in a film, Sins of My Father, about the killings committed by his father, and written a memoir about growing up as the son of the planet's biggest and most violent drug kingpin. He's even launched an 'organic' clothing line, utilizing images from his father's career. He has also earned money from his father's name, including consulting on projects about the Medellin cartel, which generated a public dispute with the makers of Netflix' Narcos series because it did not consult him.

All in all, it seemed that Juan Pablo, now married with a son, was doing well. His Wikipedia entry (which sounds like it was written by him) states that:

'Although [Juan Pablo) and his family continue to make money on the rights to Pablo Escobar's name and likeness (such as selling clothing bearing his likeness for extra income), and have tried three times (unsuccessfully) to register Escobar's name as a brand,[3] Marroquín prefers not to be linked with his father, which includes mention of his previous name; he is also determined to dissociate himself from the Medellín Cartel and the illegal drug trade in Colombia.'

So, it seems strange that the younger Escobar - now Sebastián Marroquin - would use his old contacts to arrange deals between Colombian narcos and Argentine businessmen. And even stranger that that narco would be an ex-associate of the Cali cartel, Pablo Escobar's mortal enemies. But that's exactly what Argentinean authorities now allege, based on newly discovered documents which show that Marroquin charged a percentage commission on the deals.

Marroquin and his mother were arrested once before in 1999 on money laundering charges, but released because of lack of evidence. This time, the evidence seems stronger.

Is there something in the Escobar genes which drives family members to risk their freedom and reputations in pursuit of 'easy' money, which they apparently don't even need?

Juan Pablo had been his father's press contact, and his 10-minute phone call from Bogotá's Tequendama Hotel enabled a search squad to triangulate the elder Escobar's location.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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