Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos - Shaun Attwood (2016)
Pablo’s story exemplifies the contradictions, absurdities, corruption and deaths caused by the War on Drugs.
Just like Al Capone’s empire was a result of alcohol prohibition, Pablo’s was a creation of US drug laws that made a by-product of the coca plant insanely valuable. The billions Pablo made attracted predators such as the Cali Cartel and George HW Bush, none of whom hunted him down for the good of humanity.
After his death, cocaine entered America through the traditional routes detailed in Chapter 12. Governments working with criminal organisations - some on friendly terms with the CIA - exported tons of it, including the Cali Cartel in cooperation with senior members of the Colombian government.
Pablo’s downfall was assured after the Americans became increasingly involved following the assassination of the presidential candidate Galán, which was falsely blamed on Pablo - a crafty strategy employed by General Maza, who was later indicted as a co-conspirator in Galán’s murder. Many of Pablo’s domestic adversaries in the police were taking drug money from the Cali Cartel.
Pablo’s power was no match for the vast resources available to George HW Bush. Once Bush had decided to make Pablo the world’s cocaine bogeyman, his demise was inevitable. To this day, the CIA has refused to release information about their involvement with Los Pepes and Pablo’s death.
If the hunt for Pablo wasn’t about saving people from cocaine, then who benefitted? The banking, corporate and military interests represented by Bush profited, while using the War on Drugs as a cover story. All of the major players in the conflict - the cartels, the police, the Colombian troops - were fighting with weapons mostly manufactured in America.
Ex-CIA pilot Chip Tatum has alleged that some of Pablo’s billions in Panama ended up in George HW Bush’s hands, just like Pablo liquidated the assets of the Galeano and Moncada brothers. It was a case of a big gangster shaking down a smaller one.
With the CIA facilitating the importation of cocaine into America it was no wonder that the quantities rose after Pablo died. I document the true story of a CIA cocaine-smuggling pilot, Barry Seal, in Book 2 of my War on Drugs trilogy: American Made: Who Killed Barry Seal? Pablo Escobar or George HW Bush. Barry operated with the full cooperation of the Bush clan and also with the Clintons.
If the US government had followed Milton Friedman’s advice by legalising cocaine - taking the market away from gangsters such as Pablo and sequestering cocaine from young people - then the black market that Pablo profited from would have ceased to exist and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in countries such as Colombia and Mexico would have been avoided. But Milton was ignored because fighting the Pablos of the world is big business.