Colombian journalist and former TV anchorwoman Virginia Vallejo, now living in Miami, has written an explosive tell-all book about her lengthy affair with drug lord Pablo Escobar, titled Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar. Here, in an interview with a Brazilian TV reporter, she reveals Escobar’s corrupting connections with a man you may recognize today. He used to be the mayor of Medellin, the cocaine capital of Colombia and the murder capital of the world. Later, he was the governor of the state of Antioquia. Today, Alvaro Uribe is the president of the land.
Video in Spanish and Portuguese.
Escobar’s thugs murdered at least three presidential candidates who refused to take his drug money, including the liberal, Luis Carlos Galan. His saying was “Plata o plomo”–silver or lead. Bucks or bullets–those were your choices if you crossed paths with him. If you didn’t take his money and do him favors, you were a dead man. He later crossed over into outright terrorism–exchanging bullets for bombs. Virginia Vallejo, fearing for her life, broke off all relations with Escobar and fled to Miami, where she sought and received federal protection.
And Alvaro Uribe, who is the US’s “ally” in the “War on Drugs” today, was far from being the enemy of this feared and powerful drug lord. On the contrary, they were very buddy-buddy–to the point where Escobar lent him a helicopter after the death of his father (at the hands of the FARC, his pet hate today–whom Uribe, ironically, accuses of being “narco-terrorists”, with nary a peep about his own considerable past in narco-terrorism.) Uribe, in his gubernatorial capacity of okaying aviation licences in his state, handed them out like Halloween candy to Escobar’s lackeys. Guess what use they were put to. And all this while the crack-cocaine epidemic in the US raged at its height, and the War on Drugs made no progress. Gee, is it any wonder?
And Escobar’s thugs were not the only ones who enjoyed impunity under Uribe. The right-wing paramilitaries, whom the drug lords and large landowners alike employed to terrorize whole communities and suppress the left, also benefited from Uribe’s official string-pulling and lever-pushing.
Isn’t Uribe a fine one to call the FARC “narco-terrorists”, when some of his closest friends and allies…would fit that description even better?