'I'd like to die on my feet in the year 3047'

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The Independent Online
LAST year, after escaping from the luxury La Catedral prison outside Medellin, Pablo Escobar agreed to answer, in writing, a list of questions from Colombian journalists.

There were 127 questions in all and the cocaine baron's responses covered 23 typewritten pages, each one authenticated by his thumbprint. The following are highlights of the 'interview'.

How do you explain that in prison you had private telephone lines, fax, computers, radio telephones and other sophisticated communications systems?

There were 15 prisoners and I can assure you I was the one who used the telephones least. And for the 15 prisoners, we only had three computers.

In reality, there were only two mobile telephones that prison officials didn't know about.

Do you accept and feel that you are a mafioso? Does it bother you to be called that?

The media have called me that thousands upon thousands of times. If it bothered me, I'd already be maniacal.

What is it that annoys you most?

Hypocrisy and lies.

If it were up to you, how would you like to end your life?

I'd like to die on my feet in the year 3047.

Do you admit ever having committed a crime or having sent someone to kill somebody?

The reply to that I would give only to a priest in the confessional.

Why did you get into drug trafficking?

In Colombia, people get into this type of activity as a form of struggle. Others do so out of ambition.

What is your response to accusations that link you with the regime and activities of Panama's Manuel Antonio Noriega?

No comment.

Whom do you hate and why?

In my conflicts, I try not to get as far as hatred.

What do you do with your money? Is your fortune as great as international magazines say?

My money fulfils a social function. Everybody knows that.

Apart from the traffickers, who now benefits most from the drugs business?

The whole economy benefits from the money from the drugs. I'll give you an example: if a trafficker builds a house, the peasant who chops down the wood for it also benefits.

Do you not feel you are now alone after many of your old allies disappeared or were killed?

It causes me great sadness and grief to have lost loyal and dear friends. But I am certain that in the streets and countryside of Colombia, there are thousands upon thousands who support and love me.

It has been said there were all sorts of activities in the prison: fiestas, orgies etc?

We had conjugal visits, as permitted in all Colombian prisons.

If anyone saw orgies, it's because they were participating in them.

A few years ago, you were described as a kind of Robin Hood. What do you think?

It's interesting and gives me a clear conscience.

For you, what is life?

A space of time full of surprises, some pleasant, some unpleasant.

Do you believe in God and the beyond? In Heaven and Hell?

I don't like to speak publicly about God. God for me is something absolutely personal.

Have you ever felt afraid of dying?

I never think about death.

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