|El Mexicano's old walled property near La Zona Rosa,will soon host the Chinese embassy.|
|Villa Adelaida, as seen from the street, |
will soon house a restaurant.
El Mexicano, whose birth name was José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, was actually Colombian, but liked Mexican music and Mexican money, earning him the nickname. He started out as a hired assassin for emerald kingpins, but decided that drug trafficking was more profitable and became a member of the Medellin Cartel, along with Pablo Escobar. El Mexicano may have been even more brutal than Escobar, and eventually unleashed a brutal battle for control against his old friends in the emerald business. He was killed by Colombian police in 1989.
Not far away, on Calle 70 and Carrera 7a, La Quinta Villa Adelaida has stood rotting away for decades. Built in 1914 by Agustín Nieto Caballero, founder of the nearby Gimnasio Moderno, a high school for children of the traditional conservative elite, the huge house later became the Baron Club, the site of expensive carousing. However, the club's owner, Manuel Abajo Abajo, a Spanish citizen, was arrested in 1987 for narcotrafficking and sentenced to nearly a decade in prison.
|Villa Adelaida in its glory days.|
Do more narco properties remain in Bogotá? Undoubtedly, many do. However, today's narcos have learned to live less conspicuously to not make themselves targets of authorities and rival cartels. At the same time, the Mexican cartels have taken the most profitable retail trade away from the Colombians, and the Colombian drug traffickers which remain have shifted their centers of operations the big cities to rural areas near the coasts and borders.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours