It is by no means, on the Must-See list for tourists in Medellín. But I was fascinated enough to see where the infamous Colombian drug lord had ended up after his unparalleled life and the ensuing tragic death.
I hadn’t even heard of Pablo Escobar until, one day, another traveller traded his book with mine, quite excited about the man in the biography he had just finished reading.
According to ‘Killing Pablo’ (by Mark Bowden), Pablo Escobar was the feared drug lord of one of the biggest drug cartels in the world of the 1980’s – the Medellín Cartel, and one of the world’s richest by his mid 30’s. His ambition and ruthlessness are best described by the term “plata o plomo” (Spanish: silver or lead) which basically means you either take a bribe or a bullet.
However, for many in the city of Medellín, he was considered a modern day Robin Hood for his generosity to the city especially to the poor.
I got mixed reactions from people while asking for directions to the cemetery where he was buried. Most found a foreigner asking about his grave to be unexpected, intriguing or amusing. One lady was a bit defensive.
I got a bus to Cementerio Jardines Montesacro (Jardines Montesacro Cemetery) in the southern outskirts of Medellín. It was a very large cemetery on a hill from which you had a nice view of the mountains surrounding the city.
There were odd few locals visiting his grave, I guess for reasons ranging from paying respects to curiosity like in my case. It was tucked away in the shade by the wall of one of chapels, away from the other graves. It didn’t look apart except that its headstone bore the name of the drug lord who was responsible for supplying much of the world’s cocaine and the widespread chaos in Colombia only some 20 years ago.
An old couple, who was visiting his grave when I arrived, cautiously backed away and left avoiding direct eye contact with me. “El Patrón” (as he was also known)’s legacy may still be a bit too fresh in the memories of some to this day.
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