Pablo Escobar’s Son Says Mexico Is Doomed to Repeat the Same Mistakes as Colombia

By Victoria Kim 09/15/15

After vowing to avenge his father, Sebastián Marroquin has lived a life of peace and drug policy reform.

Sebastián Marroquin
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When his father was killed in a standoff with Colombian security forces in 1993, Sebastián Marroquin, the son of Pablo Escobar, made a vow of revenge. But his life has since taken a far different route.

His adult life is dedicated to peace and drug policy reform, unlike anything you’d see on the new Netflix series, Narcos. The 38-year-old, who changed his name from Juan Pablo Escobar, now travels the world giving talks on drug policy reform, violence prevention, and the importance of reconciliation in conflict resolution.

“Drug trafficking destroyed my family. It gave us the world, and then it took it away,” he said.

In a recent interview, Marroquin, who is an architect when he is not public speaking, told The Independent about making peace with his father’s legacy. Even in death, Escobar still has many enemies, though Marroquin has made an effort to make peace with them. In 2009, he met with the children of Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara and former presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, both of whom were murdered by Escobar, to ask for forgiveness.

Although the Medellín cartel has since been dismantled, Marroquin said Mexico is headed in the same direction as Colombia in the 1980s, doomed to repeat the same mistakes. “History is repeating itself. In my father’s day, the Mexican drug lords were servants to the Colombians. Now, they are the ones that wield the power,” he said.

It has been over eight years since former Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on drug trafficking organizations, escalating violence in the country and resulting in an estimated 100,000 people dead on both sides. The most-wanted drug trafficker in the world is now Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, head of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. In July, the drug lord escaped from a maximum security prison for the second time after being held for 16 months.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr