My Life during Colombia’s most Violent Period in History

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Updated: Mar 30, 2023
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I have lived outside of Colombia for eighteen years and yet, I have still forgotten the days when my family had fear during Colombia’s most violent period in history. At that point in time, my family had to make the most prevalent decision which was going to be the turning point of our lives. This decision was to move out of Colombia. Moving out of Colombia did not only mean a different future for my siblings and I, but a completely different culture that we as a family had to get familiar with.

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Together with several other individuals and families, we boarded the plane with tears running down our cheeks, not knowing when we will return home. My eldest brother, Juan Esteban, put his arm around my shoulder as a symbol of strength and courage. It was not going to be easy.

I was one of the many who evacuated the country. Some moved to Europe, while others to the States and Canada. Juan Pablo Escobar, son of Pablo Escobar was a distinctive individual who moved to Germany with his family. During the violence and death threats, Juan Pablo made the decision of migrating to Germany only to be sent back by the German government. As the only son of the biggest drug lord in the 1990’s, Pablo Escobar, Juan faced daily death threats and abuse from Colombians and those living outside of the country.

After we moved to America, the only language my family and I knew was Spanish. When eating out at restaurants and visiting the supermarket, people usually did not respond to our questions of assistance and support. What was happening in Colombia seemed to affect us here in America. I could only imagine how Juan Pablo Escobar felt during this period. Juan Pablo Escobar was characterized based on his history, culture, and relation to his family. Through Pathos, Imagery and the themes of hope and betrayal, Juan Pablo, in “Pablo Escobar, My Father” describes his journey in and out of Colombia being the son of South America’s biggest drug lord.

Pathos, the quality that evokes pity or sadness, is used throughout the entire book. This is used productively as Juan Pablo describes Pablo Escobar as someone who is a lot more than a father. ‘From the day I was born to the day he died, my father was my friend, my guide, my teacher and my trusted advisor” (Juan Pablo, Pg. 7). This is a quote from the autobiography defining Juan Pablo’s relationship with his father, Pablo Escobar. to majority of the Colombians, was a criminal, murderer and a narco-terrorist, who led the country to disaster. To Juan, he was a loving father. After leaving Colombia, Juan, his sister Manuela, and his mother were banned from several countries giving them no place to live or move out to after Pablo Escobar’s death. ‘Getting out of Colombia was a matter of life and death, it was just that simple. Manuela, my mother and I had been rejected by most of the diplomatic representations in Bogota. Costa Rica, Germany, Israel, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, El Salvador, Italy, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, France, England, and the United States. The Catholic church also shut their doors to us.’ (Juan Pablo, 323). Towards the end of the quote, Juan Pablo also mentions that the Catholic church alongside many countries did not have a place for the helpless family.

While reading this autobiography, I could visualize the journey that Juan Pablo was exposed to during the time of dependence and helplessness. Juan Pablo uses visually descriptive and figurative language to successfully give the audience an image of how life was when finances were on the lower side this time around. However, Juan also uses imagery to describe the amount of wealth that the family and Pablo Escobar, himself had. Juan describes one of the estates to give the readers a visual treat of the house they used to live in built by his father. ‘In record time, 100 workers built the house for the freshly rechristened Napoles estate. The two-story mansion known as La Mayoria was somewhat architecturally eccentric but full of luxurious amenities.” (Juan Pablo, pg. 85). This quote gives a brief introduction to the estate before Juan Pablo continues to portray the beautiful mansion in the reader’s minds through descriptive language.

After moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan Pablo Escobar changed his name to Sebastian Marroquin giving him a new identity in a different country. This was giving him a chance to start a new life under a new identity and pursue his passion. Under a new name, Sebastian pursued a degree in industrial Design while his mother invested in real estate. This brings out the theme of hope where Sebastian and his family are given a new chance and hope to reconstruct their lives after several years of struggle and constant death threats from fellow Colombians. This can be relatable to Jamaica Kincaid’s “A small place” where the girl changes her name to be treated like the locals of Antigua. Kincaid also writes about her experience as a child alongside her current situation as a grown up. This is similar to Sebastian’s “Pablo Escobar, My Father” where Sebastian talks about his youth and the time he left Colombia for safety and protection.

This autobiography is one of the most interesting texts I have read as it has a personal connection and has immensely affected my life. Juan Pablo also was known as Sebastian Marroquin today has successfully used Imagery and Pathos to bring out the main themes of Hope and Betrayal. The themes of this autobiography are also brought out through Sebastian’s History and Culture in Colombia under his father, Pablo Escobar.

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My Life During Colombia’s Most Violent Period In History. (2022, Jun 29). Retrieved from