Cartel Corner #15: Growing up in Pablo Escobar’s Columbia

I grew up in Pablo Escobar’s Colombia. Here’s what it was really like.

by Bernardo Aparicio García



The night of the car bomb, my dad called home from his cell phone as he finished his rounds of the family’s bakeries. It was a nightly ritual, braving rush hour in his little silver Mazda to collect the day’s cash from each location. In early ‘90s Colombia, cash did not sit in registers a minute longer than it had to.

“Almost done here,” he told my mom. “I’m stopping by the store at Imbanaco next, and then heading home. If you want any food, call the store now so they can bring it out to the car when I arrive.” As on every other evening, my mom called the bakery and ordered some bread and milk for breakfast. She began preparing a light dinner, knowing my dad would be home in half an hour.

When nearly an hour had passed and he had not arrived, my mom called, not without a twinge of annoyance, to find out the cause of the holdup. There was no answer. Our phone rang a few minutes later, but it was my uncle Chalo at the other end.

Read the Remainder at Vox