Author Topic: Atonement  (Read 339 times)

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Offline poche

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« on: December 03, 2014, 05:05:44 AM »
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  • "Every day I think of all those people who suffered or are suffering because of my brother - because of the war he waged," says Luz Maria Escobar.

    In the 1980s, and up to his death in 1993, Pablo Escobar and his Medellin Cartel inflicted a bloody catalogue of murder and mayhem on Colombia. In 1991, Medellin's homicide rate was a shocking 381 for every 100,000 inhabitants. Some 7,500 people died in the city that year alone.

    Escobar targeted politicians, police officers, the security forces, journalists and members of the judiciary in his battle against the state - a war he declared to prevent a law being passed to allow the extradition of drug traffickers from Colombia to the US.

    Escobar controlled 80% of the global cocaine trade Car bombs, kidnap, torture and assassination became part of everyday life. In a failed attempt to kill a presidential candidate, Escobar even brought down an airliner in 1989. The man who would become president in 1990, Cesar Gaviria, was not on board. But more than a hundred people lost their lives in the explosion.

    At the height of his power, Pablo Escobar was the seventh richest man on the planet and his cartel controlled 80% of the global cocaine trade. But in 1980, Luz Maria says she knew nothing about her brother's involvement in drug trafficking - until he told the family he had made a will.

    "My mother was very upset. She said to him, 'Why are you doing this - are you terminally ill?' And he said, 'I'm in the mafia. Those in the mafia never die of natural causes or illness. Mafiosi die from bullets.' We didn't even know what 'mafia' meant. That night, my mother and I got out a dictionary - but the word wasn't in there."

    It was when the Minister of Justice, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, was assassinated on Escobar's orders on 30 April 1984 that reality hit home for his sister.

    That day was awful for me. That's when I knew what he was involved in and what my brother was capable of."

    So did she try to persuade her brother to change his life?

    "We often went looking for him - I always went with my mother. We spoke to him when there was so much bloodshed, all the massacres… But he was able to convince you the other way. And after my father was kidnapped in 1985, Pablo said to me, 'It's either us or them.' He was carrying a gun for self-defence and to defend the family. But I didn't think at that point it would all go so far - that he would leave such a historic, sad, painful mark on the world."

    Now Luz Maria Escobar wants to apologise for the sins of her brother. Last year, on the 20th anniversary of Pablo Escobar's death, she held a Mass at the Catholic church at the Jardines Montesacro cemetery, in Medellin.


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