Entertainment

21 Wow Facts About Pablo Escobar

Vilified by most and adored by some, particularly in his hometown of Medellín in Colombia, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria left behind a complex legacy. On one hand, he accumulated immense wealth first through smuggling counterfeit products and then through drug trafficking. He is in part responsible for the spread of cocaine culture and markets in the United States, as he found the most ingenious ways of shipping the drug and introducing it to the country. He was, long story short, an efficient and vicious criminal. On the other hand, he built the image of a benefactor, a man of the people. He built schools, churches and houses for the disadvantaged, a model that other capos like El Chapo Guzmán would follow.

Here’s some rare facts about the most famous cartel leader of all time, a man who even years after is death continues to be the subject of movies, narco telenovelas, TV shows and documentaries.

Escobar started his criminal career stealing cars


Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

Yes, he had humble beginnings in the underbelly of society. He also smuggled items such as tombstones (weird eh?) before entering narcotics trade.

He once visited the White House

Credit: Sins of my Father. HBO.

The year was 1981 and the Escobar family visited the capital of what in Latin America is known as the American Empire. A recent HBO documentary revealed this photo that shows the audacity of Escobar, who at this time was already a global leader in drug trafficking.

He was elected congressman in Colombia to seek immunity

Credit: Countdown to death: Pablo Escobar. Netflix.

Escobar was a public figure in Colombia for very early on. He was even elected to the Colombian Congress seeking parliamentary immunity so he could escape a potential extradition to the United States if his cartel was ever dismantled.

He even wanted to become president of Colombia

Credit: Narcos. Netflix.

Pablo’s political ambition went as far as wanting to officially be the first in command in his country. However, when he was kicked off congress he told a confidant that the government was the real mafia. He desisted.

He was once considered the 7th richest man in the world

Credit: Giphy. @cuadrocochino

In what was basically an insult to the Colombian government, Forbes magazine listed Don Pablo as the seventh richest man in the whole planet… wonder what place he would have had in the list had all his hidden money been accounted for.

Planes, cars and… submarines!

Credit: The Simpsons. FOX.

Escobar has a knack for finding the most elaborate ways to get drugs into the US. When his fleet of cars, planes and boats wasn’t enough he bought a couple of subs to seal the deal.

The Medellín cartel spent $2,500 on rubber bands a month!

Credit: El patrón del mal. Caracol TV.

Yes, someone had to keep all that cash neatly together, right? Escobar’s criminal organization made so much lana that they needed thousands of rubber bands according to Business Insider magazine.

In fact he was so rich that he bough an island in The Bahamas: Cayo Norman

Credit: Google Maps. Screen capture.

In this small piece of land he set up a high-end drug smuggling facility complete with giant freezers to keep the cocaine fresh. Of course, it has a small airport and all the amenities which of course included luxury homes for narco-style relaxing and debauchery.

Rats ate millions of dollars he stored in houses and fields

Credit: Animals. HBO.

The problem of having way too much illegal money is that the cash needs to be stored somewhere. In his heyday, Escobar would make about $420 million dollars a week, and hiding all that cash was problematic. He buried it in fields, hid it in furniture and walls. Rats would get to it, but he didn’t really seemed to care.

In his prime, Escobar smuggled 15 tons of cocaine a day into the US. This is what that amount looks like:

Credit: US Coast Guard.

This is an enormous amount of powder. The price went up immediately after entering US soil, which explains why Escobar amassed such an enormous fortune during his lifetime.

The hippos he owned escaped and are now reproducing in Colombia

Credit: Giphy. @sandiegozoo

Needless to say, 3-ton hippos are not supposed to live in Colombia, but when the kingpin was shot his pet hippos were forgotten and are now roaming the area where Hacienda Napoles used to be. There are about 30 of them and are causing real problems in the ecosystem.

His hacienda is now a Jurassic Park

Credit: Flickr. @crisagonz.

Pablo Escobar’s state was seized by the Colombian authorities after his death. The kingpin’s beloved Hacienda Napoles was converted into a thematic park featuring real-size dinosaur sculptures.

He built 70 community soccer fields

Credit: Image. Digital image. Business Insider. September 22 2015

Escobar loved building a Robin Hood persona, which kept him safe in his city. He was a big soccer fan and he built dozens of soccer fields for the youth.

But he was far from a good guy: he is responsible for the killing of 200 judges and 1,000 police, journalists, and government officials.

Credit: El patrón del mal. Caracol TV.

Escobar’s iron rule went from worse to worst during his reign as the leading trafficker in the world. Innumerable human right’s violations were perpetrated by Escobar’s men or by others as a consequence of the drug war.

Javier Bardem was nominated for a Goya (the Spanish Oscars) for playing him…

Credit: Loving Pablo. Escobar Films.

The Spanish actor played Don Pablo in a 2017 movie that follows his romance with TV reporter Virginia Vallejo (played by Penelope Cruz), who wrote the memoir on which the movie is based.

He briefly met El Chapo

Credit: El Chapo. Univision/Netflix.

The two biggest drug lords in history had a very brief encounter a couple of years before Escobar was killed. El Chapo was then an up and coming member of the Guadalajara Cartel. If we believe the recent El Chapo TV show, Escobar was impressed with the young man from Sinaloa.

Escobar married in 1976, aged 27… his bride was just 15

Credit: normal-life-of-pablo-escobar.jpg. Digital image. All that is interesting.

A 12-year difference between spouses is not that strange, but it gets kind of iffy when the bride is basically a teenager.

Narcotourism in his hometown is a booming business

Credit: 1440017460_737403_1440019321_noticia_grande. EL PAIS. June 8 2017.

Believe it or not, there are tours where visitors can sleep in Escobar’s state, see his collection of cars and roam the streets where he built his cartel. Even though Colombia wants to clean its public image, the legacy of drug culture persists.

He was shot a day after his 44th birthday. Talk about timing!

Credit: Narcos. Netflix.

It is believed that Escobar had a longer conversation with his son than what he generally allowed himself to avoid being tracked. This happened a day after his 44th birthday. Ten minutes later the DEA and the Colombian special forces were onto him.

He died of a police shot in the head… or did he?

Credit: Narcos. Netflix.

The official version argues that Escobar died of one last fatal shot in the head by the Colombian police (what Netflix’s show Narcos showed), but his son has declared that the final bullet indicated suicide. We will never know the truth.

More than 25,000 people attended his funeral

Credit: family.jpg. Digital image. All that is interesting.

Don Pablo was revered by thousands, and his funeral in December 1993 was attended by friends, family and the people he helped. Night and day up until his very last day.

Mexico Is Selling Off Jewelry And Property Seized From Narcos To Build Necessary Roads

Things That Matter

Mexico Is Selling Off Jewelry And Property Seized From Narcos To Build Necessary Roads

@SAE_Mex / Twitter

Close to 2,000 of pieces of jewelry were auctioned off this past Sunday by the Mexican government. From gold watches to bullet-shaped pendants encrusted with diamonds, the collection is a special set of items that have a place in Mexico’s dark criminal history. This is due to the items once belonging to Mexican drug lords and other sought after criminals. Hundreds of people came from all over the country seeking these exclusive and hallowed items that once belonged to the whos-who of Mexico’s narco world.

The auction is a chance to show the new government’s transparency and also support a good cause. the money from the auction will help fund building roads in western Mexico. 

Credit: @univ_inenglish / Twitter

This past weekend was the third such auction organized by the government, which has announced that the fourth one will sell off land and cash confiscated from drug dealers. The fundraising goal for the auction was 21.8 million pesos, about 1.14 million U.S. dollars, according to the AP. Proceeds from the auctions will be used to repair roadwork near the border between Michoacán and Colima.

Mexico’s austerity-minded President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office last December, is behind the auction. These jewelry sell-offs have been taking place outside Los Pinos, a mansion that was the former residence of the Mexican president. One of López Obrador’s first orders was making the estate in the capital’s Chapultepec Park into a cultural center designated to the open public.

Back in April, López Obrador announced his “Robin Hood” institute, a government agency that would return wealth seized from corrupt politicians and gangsters back to the people. 

“Let’s quickly return everything to the people that’s been stolen,” he said then at a news conference announcing the bill.

While many of the items are high in value, government officials have so far failed to meet some of their fundraising goals. 

Credit: @ruptly / Twitter

The System of Administrative Allocation of Assets (SAE), who is heading the auctions, is expected to host it’s fourth event in the coming weeks. But so far, exceptions have yet to be met in regards to their 21.8 million-peso minimum goal set by SAE head Ricardo Rodríguez.

The SAE has so far raised 10.3 million pesos ($540,000 USD), which is far short of its goal. This past weekend, the government expected between 250 and 350 people to take part in the auction but only 70 signed up to participate. Many of starting prices set forth by the government have yet to matched and buyers have been weary bidding on higher prices items. 

The upcoming auction will feature the properties allegedly confiscated from human trafficking activist Rosi Orozco and accused drug trafficker Xen Li Yegon.

Jewelry items bidding prices range from $655 to $155,000. These high prices are due to the one-of-a-kind nature of the jewelry collection.

Credit: @SAE_Mex / Twitter

One of the biggest draws to the auctions have been people’s curiosity for the narco treasures. Thousands of people have visited Los Pinos just to have a look at the jewelry collection. Felipe Palma, who came to auction with his family Sunday, was one of those curious onlookers. 

“They had some very strange things made,” Palma told the AP. “I imagine the guy that had that type of jewelry made was one of the bosses.”

The most expensive piece of jewelry that is listed is a men’s Piaget watch, valued at $155,000. The watch features an 18 karat, white gold timepiece that features 49 baguette-cut diamonds and an additional 160 baguette-cut diamonds on its side. 

While some of the items are high in value, many of the items that aren’t sought after are often purchased to be melted down to be sold again. Jorge Camacho, who was winning bidder on a Cartier watch and other assorted gold items, will be one of those trying to cash in by selling the items at a secondhand shop.

“There’s a market for everything,” Camacho told the AP. 

READ: Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

Pedro Pascal Is Going To Have An Awesome 2019 And These Are The Reasons Why

Entertainment

Pedro Pascal Is Going To Have An Awesome 2019 And These Are The Reasons Why

Slowly but surely this Chilean actor has established himself as one of the go-to celebrities for directors who want some diversity and loads of talent in their cast. We got to know him when he got his eyes popped out in Game of Thrones and the Internet couldn’t get enough of the gruesome scene. He later became the absolute star of the first three seasons of Narcos, where he played a DEA agent with tons of heart and an old-fashioned, film noir look.

2019 will be HUGE, ENORME, MAYUSCULO for this gentleman, as he will appear in The Mandalorian, a spin-off series based on the Star Wars universe.

Here are 21 things that make Pedro awesome and will attract the spotlight in 2019.

1. He is now part of the mainstream in both sides of the Atlantic

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

This is a promotional shot for his Cartier campaign. Being the face of luxury brands is one of the holy grails for actors. The high-end watchmaker liked his Latino looks and his manly disposition. We agree.

2. He is a Netflix commodity now

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

He will appear in Triple Frontier, a Netflix movie about guerrillas in South America. Pedro is one of the most regular faces in originals from the streaming giant, which will guarantee work for years to come.

3. He epitomizes the cool Latino man

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

He is not pretty like Leo DiCaprio, but more rugged like Humphrey Bogart. There are not many A-listers with those characteristics currently working in Hollywood, so the competition is thin!

4. He understands social media

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Few celebrities truly understand social media and what it can do to advance their careers. But Pascal does! Here, for example, he shares an intimate and goofy moment… and drops in a shout out to Happy Socks!

5. He can take a selfie even if a bit borrachito

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Here he is with his partner on a drunken night…. not that bad, but not that sober either! You are forgiven, Pedrito.

6. He is one of the OK guys…

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

He defends those who have to fight for their basic rights. This will expand his fan base significantly, as he is a vocal advocate for causes such as LGBT rights.

7. He stays true to his calling… damn fine acting

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Many actors forget their roots and lose their passion once they start appearing in high profile movies and TV show. Not Pedro, who works in Broadway, mainly in adaptations of Shakespeare plays like King Lear.

8. Because perritos….

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

He constantly uploads photos of him and his furry friends…. nothing better for keeping current. Que ternuritas…. 

9. He speaks out when he is fed up

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Contrary to many migrants who stop fighting for other migrants’ rights once they are in a comfortable situation, Pedro is not afraid to demand justice. The recent crisis concerning children in government detention centers proved this.

10. He is a cool AF tío

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Just look at him with his two sobrinos, chilling and being silly.

11. He partners with A-listers to demand political change

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Here he is with Mark Ruffalo, an A-lister who is a big supporter of Bernie Sanders and basically politics that oppose the current government. What a pair of superheroes!

12. He hates toxic masculinity…. PREACH

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Just read what this awesome image on his Insta account says. In the #metoo era, it is comforting to see that not all men are pendejos and that some of today’s boys will be taught right and learn to be respectful and speak for their actions.

13. Man, Prospect looks awesome

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Nothing like a good old-fashioned sci-fi movie to establish an actor’s career. Prospect showcased Pedro’s talent to work with special effects and complex plot lines, which will surely catch the eye of studio executives.

14. La familia es primero

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Pedro adores his parents and is not afraid to demonstrate it and share candid photos on social media. This always goes well with Hispanic audiences, who relate to celebrities who have strong family ties that fame and money cannot break. Here we see his dad’s birthday celebrations. Queremos pastel! 

15. Glossy magazines love him

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Pascal’s face is pretty much omnipresent by now. This is a pajama shooting for GQ. Is this anything that this heartthrob cannot pull off?

16. He understands the world because he is a migrant

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

His family is left-leaning when it comes to politics, which wasn’t such a good idea in Pinochet’s Chile. He grew up in Texas after having fled to Denmark as a child. Today’s world is global and he gets it, which translates into success in different markets.

17. He is a go-to talent for arthouse filmmakers

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Following the success of Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins directed If Beale Street Could Talk, about the writer James Baldwin. Pascal plays Pietro Alvarez, a secondary but essential role in this story of literary beauty and self-discovery. There will be Oscar buzz for this film and Pedro will surely grace the red carpet during award season.

18. People will keep watching Narcos to understand the cartel wars

Credit: Instagram. @pascalispunk

Narcos is one of the most popular Netflix franchises, and as the narrative of the show moves to Mexico, audiences will want to revisit the Colombian seasons to understand and connect the dots. There to meet them will be Pedro Pascal’s bigote and tough antics. In a rewatch we can really understand how crucial Pascal’s character, Javier, is for the moral definition of the show, as he knows that sometimes the law has to be bent in the pursuit of justice.

19. He will re-team with Wagner Moura and act alongside Gael and Penelope Cruz!

Credit:penelope_cruz_wagner_moura_and_gael_garcia_bernal_-_getty_-_h_split_2018. Digital image. HR

His Narcos counterpart and he will appear in Wasp Network, a movie about Cuban political prisoners. Gael Garcia Bernal and Penelope Cruz will also be part of this amazing cast! This is basically the creme de la creme of Hispanic talent, so it is great to see Pedro Pascal breaking bread with more established Latinos who have changed the face of the industry.

20. He was a role in the super secret Wonder Woman 1984

Credit: ww84_-_screengrab_-_h_2018. Digital image. HR.

Director Patty Jenkins shared an enigmatic image in which Pascal appears in a Trump-like suit…. we can only guess that he will be the villain in the much-awaited follow-up to the first Wonder Woman film.

21. He will star in The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spin-off TV show!

Credit: themandalorian-1280-1538697197244_1280w. Digital image. IGN
We saved the best for last. Pedrito will star in The Mandalorian, the much awaited Star Wars universe TV show that is expected to spearhead Disney’s very ambitious expansion into the streaming market. The confines of the universe are now the limit for this amazing Chilean.