Pablo Escobar's luxury eight-storey home demolished in Colombia

'History will not be written in service to the victimisers, but in recognition of the victims'

Peter Stubley
Saturday 23 February 2019 19:24
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A dust cloud rises as the Monaco building in Medellin is demolished
A dust cloud rises as the Monaco building in Medellin is demolished

Pablo Escobar's “criminal fortress” – a white eight-storey concrete mansion in the Colombian city of Medellin - has been demolished in an official government ceremony.

The infamous drug kingpin and his family lived in the Monaco building during the 1980s while he built up an estimated $30bn (£23bn) fortune supplying up to 80 per cent of the world’s cocaine.

His wife and son stayed in one of the twelve apartments, while the rest of the building was taken up with two swimming pools, a tennis court, a panic room, vault, and 34 parking spaces for his collection of vintage cars and motorcycles.

In January 1988 the building was targeted by a car bomb at the beginning of a deadly feud between the Medellin and Cali drug cartels which turned the city into the world’s murder capital.

After the Monaco was seized by the government in 1990 it was left mostly abandoned. It has since become a tourist attraction, along with the rooftop where Escobar was killed in a joint US-Colombia operation in December 1993.

On Friday a crowd of about 1,600 people, including evacuated neighbouring residents, cheered and wept as it was brought down using 180 detonators. The demolition sent a cloud of dust rising tens of metres into the air.

It will now be turned into a park and memorial museum. “This means that history will not be written in service to the victimisers, but in recognition of the victims,” said President Ivan Duque.

Medellin meyor Federico Gutierrez, who backed the plans to tear down the building rather than spend $11m (£8.6m) renovating it, described the building as a “symbol of evil”. It was valued at just $1.6m (£1.2m).

“We are paying back a historical debt with our victims,” Mr Gutierrez said. Four presidential candidates and some 500 police officers were among the thousands killed during the heyday of the “King of Cocaine”.

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Retired general Rosse Jose Serrano, who for many years led the elite police squad that pursued Escobar, said the Monaco building was where the drug lord planned some of his most brazen attacks.

“It was his criminal fortress,” General Serrano said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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