In addition to periodic coverage of geopolitics in Latin America, W. Alejandro Sanchez has previously reported on substance abuse in Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones’ and whether cyber warfare is accurately depicted in the USA network’s ‘Mr. Robot.’
A metal safe has been discovered by workers demolishing a Miami mansion overlooking Biscayne Bay, which was owned by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Given the existing mythology around the notorious criminal, we can expect significant speculation about the safe’s contents until it is opened.
Escobar’s life has been well documented. For example, Mark Bowden’s book Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw, is a must-read for anyone interested in the late criminal. Additionally, Juan Pablo Escobar, the narco lord’s son, has published a biography entitled Pablo Escobar: Mi Padre (My Father), in which he labels his father as a “drug trafficker, terrorist and assassin.” Additionally, there are television and movie productions about Escobar. For example, a Colombian series was produced about his life, entitled ‘Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal’ (‘The Lord of Evil’), while Guillermo del Toro portrayed him in the 2015 film ‘Paradise Lost.’
Recently, Escobar became a household name in the U.S. due to ‘Narcos,’ a Netflix series that describes his life, his drug empire and the operations carried out by Colombian and U.S. security agencies to hunt him down. The series has generally remained true to history, though there are some exaggerations or adaptations of what really happened. Case in point: in one episode, Escobar and his bodyguards kill Ivan Marino Ospina (AKA “Ivan The Terrible”) a leader of the M-19 revolutionary movement. In reality, Ospina was killed by Colombian security forces.
Season 1 of ‘Narcos’ ended with Escobar fleeing the golden prison, known as “La Catedral,” that he had constructed for himself. The show’s popularity prompted it to be renewed for a second season, which will revolve around the Colombian and U.S. governments tracking Escobar down until his death on December 2, 1993. If ‘Narcos’ hews to history, Escobar will be shot on a rooftop in Medellin by members of a Colombian police unit known as Search Bloc, which was tasked with finding him. Then again, ‘Narcos’ may try to be vague about who killed Escobar, as there are theories that his murder was carried out by narco-paramilitaries (see the book This Is How We Killed The Boss), or maybe even U.S. Delta snipers (Bowden hints at this in Killing Pablo), while his son Juan Pablo argues that the drug lord killed himself to avoid being captured (and in all likelihood extradited to the U.S.).
It would be amusing if ‘Narcos’ decides to address the recently found safe. After fleeing La Catedral, Escobar remained in hiding and did not travel to Miami, but there could be a flashback scene of Escobar or one of his henchmen closing the safe one last time. The Miami Herald explains that Escobar bought the mansion in March 1980 for $762,500, and it was seized by the U.S. government in 1987 as Washington stepped up its fight against him.
At the time of this writing, the new owners of Escobar’s home have yet to open the 600 pound metal safe – inside there could be money, weapons, drugs or even documents that incriminate Miami businesses and individuals that were part of Escobar’s narco-empire. According to the BBC, “workers had already found one safe in the house shortly after demolition work began, but it disappeared before anyone could examine it,” which only adds to the mystery.
As ‘Narcos’ mentions at the beginning of the series, Colombia is the birthplace of the literary movement known as “realismo mágico,” magic realism, where magic and reality co-exist in harmony. When it comes to Pablo Escobar’s criminal life, there is certainly much “mágico” in his reality.