A view of Pablo Escobar's "prison," known as La Catedral. Photo by David Sanchez/ADN, all rights reserved. Image provided here as fair use for educational purposes.


When the Colombia government offered Pablo Escobar favorable surrender terms, he agreed to turn himself in. His mother recalls:

I remember when Pablo got out of the helicopter and took out his gun and gave it to a guard. He was so happy, like nothing had happened. He embraced us all and said: “Don’t be sad because I came here to surrender so they would stop accusing me of everything.” (From interview included in “Pablo Escobar's Private Archive”.)

But ... did he really give up? Jaime Gaviria, Pablo’s cousin and confidante, recalls what life was like during Escobar’s confinement:

He had so many friends. Beauty queens. They all went to La Catedral [the name of his “prison”]. The ones who were beauty queens at the time went in there. I don’t know what they did, but they went there ... Pablo’s security was in Pablo’s hands. In any jail in this country, powerful people have their own security - and - they handle their weapons, and everything. (From interview included in “Pablo Escobar's Private Archive”.)

Concerned about Escobar’s cushy life at La Catedral, the government decided to take further action against him. Although Pablo had accepted the government’s deal, when he heard about a pending crackdown, he escaped from his luxurious place of confinement.

After his escape, narco-terror once again erupted in Colombia. His mother felt unsafe because her son, by this time, also had many enemies:

You know where I slept? Inside my bath tub, in fear. I closed the bathroom door and covered the tub with a sheet. Or sometimes, behind a couch that had a space this wide and I thought I could see their feet under the couch. When they’d come in, they may not see me. I expected death every minute. (From interview included in “Pablo Escobar's Private Archive”.)

One after another, Pablo's close associates were gunned down. Soon only his closest bodyguards and his cousin, Luzmila, remained with him. Luzmila recalls how bad things were:

He went home and told me he needed me to come and accompany him. I said yes, but I asked him to not say anything at home. (From interview included in “Pablo Escobar's Private Archive”.)

Now Pablo was at-large, again, and the government—at least initially—was unable to recapture him. His sister, Luz Maria, says that caused the government to change the search focus:

As they couldn’t get him, they would hit him where it hurt the most, his family. (From interview included in “Pablo Escobar's Private Archive”.)

As an adult, Escobar’s son—Juan Pablo—remembers what it was like to be surrounded by millions of dollars, in cash, but unable to leave the house to buy food:

I was hidden by my father ... We were literally surrounded by millions of dollars. But we were hungry because no one had the freedom to go out and buy food. That was a powerful life lesson—powerful enough to turn me away from crime.

It was a lesson his father never learned.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 05, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Sep 03, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"PABLO ESCOBAR SURRENDERS and ESCAPES" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 05, 2015. Feb 20, 2020.
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