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The war has claimed over 100,000 victims. Ross Kemp on Gangs: Bogota, Colombia
The Sicario Assassins – these men are trained to kill without mercy. ibid.
Medellin – a city made infamous by Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel in the 1980s. Using fear, intimidation and murder he controlled this town. ibid.
30,000 people have been kidnapped in Colombia over the past two years. ibid.
To do the decent thing here you run the chance of being killed. ibid.
Cartagena ... there’s eighty street gangs in those barrios. ibid.
The boys tell me that the reason the paramilitaries are in the barrios is to carry out social cleansing. ibid.
The largest private army in the country – the paramilitaries. ibid.
In a land of lush jungles and fertile soil an ancient crop became a booming business. The deadly underworld was spawned. They grew rich selling escape to the world. And powerful sowing terror at home. With violence and corruption one man hijacked his homeland and became the best known face of organised crime. Organised Crime – A World History: Colombia, History 2001
The cartels emerged in the late 1970s. From the jungle to the cities they quickly established themselves as a new kind of underworld. ibid.
[Pablo] Escobar’s cocaine business boomed in the early 1980s. ibid.
The world’s most dangerous drug boss had moved into America’s back yard, and that’s when the war began. ibid.
The most wanted man in the world was finally dead. ibid.
The new cartels have quietly gone international. ibid.
The police and the military have frequently acted as unaccountably as the traffickers, the paramilitaries or the guerrillas. Misha Glenny, McMafia
Then there are the local paramilitaries (known as the AUC), who often fight alongside the regular army against the FARC. Claiming to be upholders of the right to private property (especially to that property which they have seized by intimidation and murder), many members of the AUC had disarmed in a deal brokers by the Government earlier in the year, only to emerge as new organised criminal gangs in the lawless barios that grew tumour-like from the nether regions of all major Colombian cities. ibid.
The United States had recently handed over the last wedge of the $4 billion it had donated to Bogota under the auspices of Plan Colombia ... those self-same recipients of military aid were working on behalf of narco-traffickers and murdering policemen! ibid.
The Cali cartel was one of the top three cocaine clans to emerge in Colombia during the 1970s and 1980s. In an agreement with the other two clans, who were based in Medellin, the Cali Cartel had carved up the US export market with precision – New York belonged to the Cali. ibid.
The Medellin and Cali cartels succeeded in anticipating the mechanisms of globalisation and for many years they were also able to merge their illicit operations with licit ones. ibid.
Although he enjoyed a reputation as the most notorious narco-trafficker, Pablo Escobar was not in fact as successful as the Rodriquez-Orejuela brothers. ibid.
The Cali mafia’s annual profits were estimated at between $4 and $8 billion a year, and the organisation operated like a well-run multinational business. ibid.
Having created its own in 1974, El Banco de los Trabajadores, the Cartel bought into banks elsewhere in Central and South America that had close ties to banks in Miami and New York. ibid.
Most dramatic were the meetings between the Orejuela brothers’ representatives and members of Moscow's Solntsevo Brotherhood on the thoroughly sinful Caribbean island of Aruba in the early 1990s. ibid.
And yet cocaine from Colombia is cheaper and easier to acquire in the United States than ever before. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent in an attempt to root out an industry that has merely grown in size, in profits and in human sacrifices – tens of thousands of people have lost their lives; millions more have been shattered. ibid.
He had the power and wealth of a king. He killed anyone who stood in his way of becoming the world’s most powerful drug lord. He terrorised the nation of Colombia and made an enemy of the most powerful nation on Earth. Pablo Escobar and his cocaine drug cartel became bigger than his own government. The True Story of Killing Pablo, 2002
December 2nd 1993: a team of heavily armed police officers converge on a two-storey row-house … ibid.
Pablo is banished from the political scene and many of his assets are seized. ibid.
Escobar escalates his war against the government of Colombia. ibid.
‘Escobar was a hundred times worse than I thought; he was a maniac. Facing Escobar, National Geographic 2017
‘We were seeing hundreds and hundreds of kilos in the streets of Miami.’ ibid.
‘It’s a hundred billion dollars a year business.’ ibid.
‘Escobar took the violence to a whole new level.’ ibid.
He directed the murders of as many as 3,000 people’. ibid.
‘Carlos Lehder figured this is going to be an all-out war.’ Gangsters: America’s Most Evil s2e6: The Colombian Rambo, Carlos Lehder, Bio 2013
‘You couldn’t make up a better bad guy than him.’ ibid. Gerald Posner
‘This is a political action. And the coke and the marijuana has been converted into a revolutionary weapon against the North American imperialism.’ ibid. Lehder
At the height of his reign he brought in more than 18 million tons of cocaine in 24 months. ibid.
He began carving out a place at the table of the most powerful narcotics traffickers in the world. ibid.
Two former CIA case officers along with a film crew were given permission by the Colombian government to conduct an investigation, and had just 45 days to find Pablo Escobar’s hidden millions. Finding Escobar’s Millions s1e1, Discovery 2017
In the 1980s Pablo Escobar became the richest drug dealer in history. Before his death Escobar buried millions of dollars around Colombia. ibid.
‘Pablo potentially hid billions. The finders get 5%.’ Finding Escobar’s Millions s1e2, ex-CIA dude
Pablo Escobar offered a bounty of $3,000 for every dead policeman in Medellin. ibid. caption
‘He struck a deal with the Colombian government … He built a prison … He generally continued to run his cartel as if he was free.’ Finding Escobar’s Millions s1e3, ex-CIA dude
‘He pays off his guards and escapes.’ ibid.
‘The jungle makes perfect cover for processing labs, the guerrillas in the area provide excellent security, this really was the nexus of Pablo’s empire.’ Finding Escobar’s Millions s1e4, ex-CIA dude
‘The jungle and time eat away at evidence of almost everything.’ Finding Escobar’s Millions s1e5, ex-CIA dude
Tranquilandia: It was a vast cocaine-processing complex: there were 8 airstrips, some 19 different labs, it was an enormous place; in 1984 the national police supported by the DEA raided it and seized over $1.2 billion in assets and 13 tons of cocaine. Finding Escobar’s Millions s1e6
Pablo Escobar is the most ruthless kingpin ever to rule Colombia. Kingpin s1e4: Pablo Escobar, 2018
In the 1980s Colombia one notorious drugs lord builds a massive cocaine empire that at its height rakes in a staggering $100 million every day. ibid.
Miami is a drug smuggler’s dream. ibid.