Virginia Vellejo reveals the reason why she now calls the man she loved a monster

Virginia Vallejo (pictured) said that

Virginia Vallejo (pictured) said she "hated" Escobar, who was shot dead nearly 25 years ago after murdering hundreds of innocent people while waging war in Colombia.

When his small plane landed, the passengers were surrounded by two dozen men holding machine guns. They were taken to an enormous hacienda, then driven for hours in dune buggies through pastures full of imported animals, such as elephants and giraffes.

Finally, his host arrived by helicopter: short, plump and with a thick mustache under his fringe of curly hair. "Nice to meet you in person, finally," he said. "I'm Pablo Escobar."

This was the presentation of Virginia Vallejo in 1982 to the man who became the most infamous lord of the drug in the world, and his lover for six turbulent years. "I thought it was fascinating," she says. & # 39; He adored me. We had so much love, so much passion. We talk for hours and hours. We were very happy together. "

However, ask this former television presenter what she thinks now of Escobar, killed by special forces almost 25 years ago after murdering hundreds of innocent people while waging a war against the Colombian government, and she has a very different opinion .

"I hate it," she says about the gangster who controlled 80 percent of the world cocaine trade, a man who raped her and even stole her savings to prevent her from leaving Colombia. "He was a monster, but he has become a legend."

Certainly, there seems to be an insatiable appetite for books, documentaries and dramas about the man she described to me as "an ugly and obese peasant," but who became the most wanted criminal in the world after cornering the world cocaine market. Few people with life knew him as well as Vallejo, his book of their time together, Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar, has become a film starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz as the unlikely couple.

She saw his spectacular rise to become the seventh richest man on the planet and then saw him plunge into paranoia while being pursued like an animal by ruthless paramilitary gangs, Colombian troops and US anti-narcotics agents.

When they met, Vallejo was 32 years old and one of the most famous women in South America, an aristocratic beauty who claimed to be a descendant of the Plantagenet kings and whose previous boyfriends included the four richest men in Colombia.

Penelope Cruz portrayed in her role as Virginia Vallejo in the movie Loving Pablo

Penelope Cruz portrayed in her role as Virginia Vallejo in the movie Loving Pablo

Penelope Cruz portrayed in her role as Virginia Vallejo in the movie Loving Pablo

He arrived at the Hacienda Nápoles de Escobar with his fiancé. "I thought that I was going to marry this beautiful man, the president's nephew, but he had a big problem: he inhaled cocaine like a vacuum cleaner, I loved him and I hated him."

"It's ironic, is not it?" He adds with a smile.

"A month later and I was with the King of Cocaine".

Escobar saved Vallejo from drowning when they submerged her in a whirlpool while swimming during their first meeting at Hacienda Nápoles, but she did not fall in love with him until his first television interview.

He took her to meet poor families who made their living in a stinking garbage dump in the city of Medellín, passionately speaking as a newly elected politician about the need to help these people. It was popular in the city for spending money on houses, jobs and sports facilities.

The middle-aged British artist who insists: I am the son of Escobar's love

By Jonathan Bucks for mail on Sunday

A Briton educated in a public school believes that it is a secret love of Pablo Escobar.

Phillip Witcomb, 53, claims to have been born Roberto Sendoya Escobar, when his father was only 16 years old.

Child's love? Phillip Witcomb (pictured)

Child's love? Phillip Witcomb (pictured)

Child's love? Phillip Witcomb (pictured)

Witcomb was adopted as a baby by a British couple from an orphanage in the Colombian capital, Bogotá. Now, an artist based in Mallorca, plans to write a book about his life, which he hopes will serve as a prequel to Narcos, the Netflix series that chronicles the remarkable rise and fall of Escobar.

He states that his adoptive father told him the identity of his real father when he was 20 years old. "Actually, I really had not heard of Pablo Escobar, so I was not really aware of what he had done," he told The Mail on Sunday.

"But when Dad told me everything, I honestly could not believe it, it was a complete shock and it made me reconsider my life".

Witcomb, who attended the Lucton School in Herefordshire, says his adoptive parents hired a private security team as a child because members of the Escobar family made several attempts to kidnap him.

Although he does not have a birth certificate that names Escobar as his father, a baptism certificate says that Witcomb was born to María Lucía Sendoya and Pablo Escobar, and spent some time in an orphanage of the Catholic Church before being adopted for four months. .

She describes her adventure as a "love story": they should meet 220 times in the next five years. Vallejo estimates that he spent 1,000 hours by his side and maybe another 1,000 in his arms.

She insists that they were discreet, often meeting in an apartment in a middle class suburb of the capital, Bogotá. "I was married and I was a celebrity," says Vallejo. "We are not in front of all his assassins like in those horrible television series."

Vallejo is dismissive of Escobar's wife, Victoria ("she was very small, obscure and frankly unattractive") and dislikes portrayals in dramas such as Netflix's hit Narcos, in which Valeria Vélez's character is clearly based on her .

I asked Vallejo, now 68 and living in Florida, when he realized that Escobar was a criminal. She responds that it was shortly after her first meeting, "when she put a gun to my ex-husband's head to force him to sign my divorce documents."

"I realized that I was not a normal politician, I quickly learned that he was a criminal, he told me that he had killed 200 kidnappers and then he bought me a Beretta gun, you should know that kidnapping was a plague, with 3,000 per year in that At the moment in Colombia, Escobar located the kidnappers of a friend's sister, placing men next to the 800 telephone booths in Medellin at the time of an agreed call, then his thugs followed whoever made a call, finally locating the leader of the gang and trapping all his family.

Escobar wanted help to improve the speeches of his political career, but Vallejo says that "he never learned to speak correctly, he was a delinquent." Once a reporter asked which woman he would like to sleep in, the drug dealer replied: "Margaret Thatcher."

He became so confident with Vallejo that he showed him his collection of 14 passports. He dyed his hair blonde for one and wore glasses and a goatee for another, while a friend Saudi prince had obtained it for him.

"In those days, cocaine was more innocent," says Vallejo. & # 39; Nobody knew about all the killings, the addicts. Everyone in my country smoked Marlboro contraband and it felt like selling contraband cigarettes. I also saw what I was doing for the poor. "

When I ask about Escobar's famous luxury expense, she laughs. "It was corny because these people did not like it, so they liked huge animals and all their huge toys were spread all over the ranch, which included what Escobar called his" James Bond car ": it had a board with buttons that blew gas tear gas, oil stains, smoke, explosives and even a flamethrower "If all that does not work, this last button emits a frequency that destroys the eardrum," he said once.

But after a year together, their relationship began to corrode when Escobar confessed a cold retaliation to a former girlfriend who became pregnant by another man. He told Vallejo that he sent 'four children & # 39; to take over the woman, who was then dragged to a veterinarian to perform a forced abortion performed without anesthesia. "It was a horror story," says Vallejo. "We never talked about it again, but I did not see it after that for several weeks, I was very scared.

"When someone does something so horrible to someone else, sooner or later they will do it to you." A year later he raped me.

Television reporter Virginia Vallejo interviewing the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar in 1983

Television reporter Virginia Vallejo interviewing the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar in 1983

Television reporter Virginia Vallejo interviewing the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar in 1983

Vallejo does not want to discuss this incident. But in her book she describes what took place when the heat in Escobar became more intense after photos of him were published carrying seven and a half tons of cocaine on a plane in Nicaragua.

Upon returning from a trip to Europe where she was courted by the rival drug cartel chief of Cali, Vallejo found death threats on her answering machine.

He ended up in Escobar's half-hidden hideaway, where he raped her and demanded that she beg for his life while he strangled her.

You look horrible. Thank God I will never see you again, "he said later." From now on they're just girls and whores for me. "

By then, Escobar was fighting the Colombian government in a campaign to avoid extradition to the United States. Their squads murdered judges, policemen, politicians and presidential candidates, and even bombed a plane in 1989, killing 107 people on board.

In the most blatant attack, he paid the Marxist rebels to assault the Supreme Court in 1985. After a two-day assault, the army freed the building, but dozens of hostages were left dead and crucial criminal records were destroyed, including the of Escobar.

"Paul really felt the suffering of the people and became a political animal," he says. "But he wanted to overthrow the extradition because it was the only thing he feared and it became his obsession, his crusade, his cross.

"I was worried about going to an American jail and never going in. In Colombian prisons, they could almost live at home, with drugs, prostitutes, alcohol, weapons, good food and family."

Vallejo believes that was why they invited her to meet him, since she was committed to the president's nephew, a man who could have had political influence. But his contempt for Escobar grew as the number of corpses increased.

"When I saw all the bombs, killing innocent children and people, I wanted to grab Pablo and his people to kill them myself," he says.

When the network closed on the cocaine baron, who had a $ 25 million reward in his head, he became increasingly paranoid. "If you open your mouth you're dead, love of my life," he whispered to her one night in bed after smoking marijuana.

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz as Pablo Escobar and Virginia Vallejo in the movie Loving Pablo

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz as Pablo Escobar and Virginia Vallejo in the movie Loving Pablo

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz as Pablo Escobar and Virginia Vallejo in the movie Loving Pablo

Vallejo says his phone was intercepted by Escobar. Then he broke into his apartment and stole his interviews, saved $ 30,000 from his safe, a handwritten draft of a novel and the Beretta.

She says that Escobar would not let her leave Colombia because she wanted her to write the final account of her life. "The cruel man I loved so much has lost his mind and is condemning me to a slow death," Vallejo wrote in his book.

Six days before Escobar's death, he contacted the authorities abroad after learning that he had ordered the murder of the ex-girlfriend forced to have an abortion. So how did he feel after hearing that he had been shot? "I had mixed feelings when the whole country celebrated the death of Pablo Escobar and even Bill Clinton congratulated the government," he says.

"I remembered how our relationship with two innocent people who loved each other began before their industry became a bloodbath and it hurt all those addicts, this was my life."

She says that her book aims to show "the good, the bad and the ugly of Pablo Escobar so that people can understand him and the evolution of our relationship."

In Narcos, Valeria Velez is murdered. On the contrary, Vallejo left Colombia in July 2006 and received political asylum in the US. UU After making explosive revelations about the links between cartels and politicians. She believes that the vengeful forces linked to Escobar's family and prominent Colombian politicians are still responding with negative representations in programs such as Narcos, which refuses to discuss as a consequence.

From Colombia, he says he misses only the ajiaco soup, a chicken and potato dish. And reflecting on her extraordinary life as the last wife of a gangster, she says: "This is my destiny."

& # 39; I have to accept that my life is different from most people & # 39;.

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