Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pablo Escobar (Dec. 1, 1949 – Dec. 2, 1993)

On this date in 1993, Pablo Escobar was gunned down in Medellín.

Above photo: Members of Colonel Martinez’s Search Bloc celebrate over Pablo Escobar’s body on December 2, 1993, in a photograph taken by DEA agent Steve Murphy. Pablo’s death ended a fifteen-month effort that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It was the deathblow to the Medellín cartel–it became fragmented and the coke market soon became dominated by the rival Cali Cartel, until the mid-1990s when its leaders, too, were either killed or captured by the government.

At the height of his empire’s power in 1989, Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) was estimated to be the seventh-richest man in the world with a personal wealth of close to $4 billion, while his Medellín cartel controlled 80 percent of the global coke market. A hero to many in Medellín province (especially the poor people), he was a charismatic man who worked hard to cultivate his “Robin Hood” image. He built football fields, multi-sports courts, houses and churches for the locals. The locals provided him with necessary eyes and ears to elude CIA and international efforts to arrest him.

On December 2, 1993, the Search Bloc triangulated him using the radio signals. How Escobar was killed during the confrontation has been debated but it is known that he was cornered on the rooftops and, after a prolonged gunfight, suffered gunshots to the leg, torso, and the fatal one in his ear. It has never been proven who actually fired the final shot into Escobar’s head, whether this shot was made during the gunfight or as part of possible execution or suicide.

Great Time Magazine time capsule article

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