| 2009/12/02 00:00

In the shame of the father

Dec 2--The son of Pablo Escobar tries to atone for the drug kingpin's sins and help Colombia heal

In the shame of the father

The past is all there, in a small closet, inside old, musty boxes: photo albums, one stacked upon the other, filled with pictures of the father, a man Forbes magazine once christened the world's seventh richest, with a personal fortune of at least $3 billion.
In several now-grainy shots, he poses next to his Renault race car in his native Colombia or is seen enjoying another hobby, flying light planes in Florida. Then there is the picture of the two of them -- a precocious boy and his father, trying to keep him still -- outside the White House during a vacation in the early 1980s. In family pictures, the father looks attentive, even affectionate with a boy still too young to know the whole horrendous truth.

That son is now a man confronting, quite publicly in a new 94-minute documentary, the violence and hate his father wrought on Colombia. It is no small thing. The father was Pablo Escobar, kingpin of the Medellin cocaine cartel, the man who helped make an industry of trafficking cocaine to the United States, then, in an all-out war with the state, nearly brought Colombia's government to its knees.

His father was a man of epic evil in an era of epic evil: He was the world's deadliest criminal, responsible for thousands of deaths. He put a bounty on the heads of police and got hundreds killed. He blew up an airliner, Colombia's intelligence headquarters and a Bogota newspaper. He ordered the assassinations of a presidential candidate and other prominent politicians. The entire fleet of taxi drivers in Medellin was his informant force at one point. Only fictional villains compare.
Read more here.
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