Everyone has heard of the Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord who rose to power and lead the infamous Medellin drug cartel throughout the 1980s, but less is known about his brother and accountant, Roberto Escobar. Roberto grew up alongside Pablo, experiencing the tremendous growth of his brother from their middle class upbringing to his rise in stature as one the wealthiest, most powerful, and most wanted men in the world.
Roberto knows much, if not all of the story, from first hand accounts. After all, he was the official accountant of the cartel, keeping track of the billions upon billions of dollars that were piling up as a result of the lucrative importation of contraband cocaine into the United States, as well as many other far reaching countries. That, and of course the blood stained profiteering that Roberto’s brother, Pablo, took part in by both bribing and killing off law enforcement that stood in his way.
Leaving a Violent Past Behind
Despite Roberto’s brother’s violent tendencies, ones which Roberto himself claims he does not possess, the Escobar’s power was mostly adored by the people of Medellin. The cartel was considered heroic. Still, many people held strong hatred for the violence and illicit activity that took throughout the 80s, and while Roberto was serving a sentence in a high security Columbian prison, he received a letter bomb in the mail. The bomb would go off, leaving Roberto blind in one eye, and reminded of the not-so-average life he once lived.
Breaking Down the Numbers
Being an account is a serious occupation, keeping track of every penny that makes its way in and out, recording and analyzing each transaction. Imagine doing this for the most notoriously violent drug cartel in the world. Columbia, in the 1980s, was a mess of corruption, easily making room for a destructive and overpowering cartel that rub heads and eventually toss aside the government. Consider, maybe, that in order to be such a successful criminal organization, some tidy methodology was as hand. And, perhaps, that man behind that methodology was Roberto himself.
Pablo has written an autobiographical book titled, “The Accountant’s Story,” in which he breaks down his personal account of the cartel’s rise and fall from power. In the memoir he purports the following facts:
- During one point, the Cartel was taking in so much cash that they were spending over $1000 a week in rubber bands just to secure the money piles.
- So much money, in fact, that some of it went to the rats, who would nibble away chunks.
- Roberto does not excuse his brother’s violence, and he claims that he has always distanced himself from it.
Roberto lived in what seems like the only time and place where such a wild and extraordinary story could take place. What is more, he adds a riveting contrast to the violence and disarray that so often surrounds the legend of Pablo and the Medellin cartel. An accountant, a job so often characterized as dull and orderly, but instead, but a role acquired to keep checks and balances for violent drug lords who were quickly uprising over a city. The lesser known of the Escobar brother’s, Roberto’s story is one worth noting.