Drug Lord Pablo Escobar's Home Now a Theme Park
One man brought Colombia to its knees a generation ago, bombing cities, killing presidential candidates, putting a bounty on policemen.
All the while, Pablo Escobar was building himself a Shangri-La outside of the city of Medellin, funded by near global control of the cocaine trade.
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Now that estate, known as Hacienda Napoles, has become a theme park where 50,000 people a year come to see what is left of "El Patron."
"It is a sad story of how a whole country can get corrupted by money," one tourist told Fox News.
The state says the museum teaches that crime doesn't pay. But the cold sneer of command lingers here, along with a hint of admiration from some visitors.
"He rose from nothing. He was obviously very intelligent, even though he used that intelligence against society," a Columbian touring the site remembered.
The 4000 acre estate, complete with its own bull fighting ring and airplane runway, is a weird mix of monument to a killer and environmental theme park. Along with innovations in how to smuggle cocaine into the US, Escobar can take credit as the man who introduced the hippopatumus to South America.
The hippos have no natural predators in Colombia. They started out as four, and are now up to twenty seven, with no end to the growth of the population in sight.
They are the heirs of Pablo Escobar, enjoying, half submerged, the estate he did not live to complete.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
By Steve Harrigan
video footage uploaded to Video Archive