Juan Gabriel Was Nearly Killed At A Private Concert After Playing Joke On A Cartel Boss

There’s no denying that Juan Gabriel was an iconic entertainer – and not only in Mexico. The Divo de Juárez was well-known throughout the world, and it should go without saying that the singer was just as well known for his voice as he was his over-the-top theatrics and style. But new reporting shows that not everyone was used to his flamboyance and at one private event in particular, his show-stopping antics nearly got him killed.

Author Fernando Rodríguez details JuanGa’s near death experience at a private concert for Colombian cartel.

According to author Fernando Rodríguez, in his book El hijo del “Ajedrecista”, Juan Gabriel frequently agreed to perform at various events in order to bring his greatest hits to audiences around Latin America – oftentimes without doing research into who the event was actually for. That is, allegedly, how Juan Gabriel ended up at a private event for the Colombian Cali Cartel.

Although Rodríguez doesn’t give too many details about the place or time of events, he says that the night started off normal enough. Juan Gabriel arrives at the event and prepared himself for the show that he would be giving; adjusting his microphone, scanning the audience with his eyes, preparing his band.

Throughout the night’s performance, JuanGa did as he so often did at his shows — he worked the crowd and made sure that everyone was having a good time. On several occasions, according to the book, El Divo entered the crowd and urged them to sing along trying to involve them in the show. At one point, one of the cartel bosses (allegedly José “Chepe” Santacruz) urged JuanGa to play a joke on his colleague but left it up to the singer what to do.

This is where things took a dangerous turn.

As a playful joke, JuanGa allegedly attempted to give the cartel boss a kiss on the cheek but was not met with any kind of amusement. Instead, the cartel boss quickly became violent and threatened to kill Juan Gabriel right then and there. Thankfully, the crowd protected JuanGa – knowing it was meant to be a joke – and ushered him out of the event. According to Rodríguez, within 20 minutes JuanGa was on a helicopter out of the cartel compound on his way back home to Miami.

Later, after realizing that JuanGa had been pushed to play the practical joke on him, the leader of the Cali Cartel assured El Divo that he had no hard feelings and welcomed him back to play anytime he felt comfortable.

Of course, this wasn’t the only bad experience Juan Gabriel had during his storied career.

The Divo de Juárez was also imprisoned for 18 months, accused of having stolen jewelry and a radio from an actress. Although the government’s historical records preserve the files of nearly every prisoner, it doesn’t have the file of Alberto Aguilera Valadez, the real name of the Divo de Juárez.

Despite there being no any official records, it’s widely accepted that Juan Gabriel spent time at the Palacio Negro de Lecumberri after being wrongly accused of stealing jewels and a radio, supposedly by actress Claudia Islas (however, she denied being the accuser.)

During his time in prison, El Divo composed a large number of songs such as “No Tengo Dinero”, “Me He Quedado Solo”, “Tres Claveles y Un Rosal”, “Iremos De La Mano”, among others. Juan Gabriel’s stay in one of the most infamous prisons of the 20th century was reflected in the film Es mi vida, produced in 1982, with Gonzalo Martínez Ortega as director, and starring the singer as himself.

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