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Friday, May 24 2019 @ 01:05 PM UTC

Manuel Antonio Noriega Protected Pablo Escobar in Panama - 1984

Drug TraffickingThe son of the late boss of the Medellin drug cartel Pablo Escobar Gaviria, confirmed what was an open secret in Panama - that his father, the "boss of all bosses", lived on the isthmus in 1984 under the protection of the then dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega. What's more, the some of the man who at the start of the 90's was the most wanted criminal in the world, revealed that his father left Panama en route to Nicaragua, because he did not trust Noriega, and was afraid Noriega would turn him over to the United States, his allies at the time. Juan Pablo Escobar – or Sebastián Marroquín as he is now called, also revealed his father was upset when he left Panama because his former protector - who even gave him a Panamanian identification card - stole an airplane from him in addition to $3 million dollars. Sebastián Marroquín is an architect who now lives in Buenos Aires, broke his silence 17 years after his father's death, and did so in the documentary "The sins of my father," by Argentine filmmaker Nicolás Entel, whose Latin American television premiere was last Wednesday on Discovery Channel.

In his conversations with the filmmaker, Escobar's son told how he, his sister, his mother, and his father left Colombia the day after the assassination of then Colombian Minister of Justice, Rodrigo Lara, a hit ordered by his father. They left in a helicopter, flying low to evade radar, and arrived in Panama, the sanctuary of Noriega and his military. According to Marroquín, who at that time was seven years old, they were housed in a "mansion" near a golf course. It was not possible to know with certainty the exact location of the "mansion."

Former General Rubén D. Paredes was asked, and he said at that time he was out of the Defense Forces and had no access to information. Paredes said he had not seen the film or does he have any idea of the location of the "mansion" cited. He also said he didn't know anything about the airplane and the $3 million dollars that, according to Escobar's son, Noriega stole from the Colombian drug lord.

In the documentary - which before its TV premiere was broadcast in movie theaters in the U.S. and Europe and awarded, among others, at the Sundance Independent Film Festival - images of Noriega are displayed in full exercise of his functions, but never in the company of Escobar. The documentary also show videos of the visit made by former Colombian President Alfonso Lopez to Escobar in Panama, which led to all sorts of speculation that the leader of the Medellín drug cartel had plans to pay off the foreign debt of Colombia in order to secure the ability to return home. Marroquin said all these speculations were lies. After leaving Panama, the drug boss and his family were received by the Sandinista regime, and later they returned to Medellin. The rest of story until Escobar's death on 2 December 1993, is well known.

The documentary also includes an emotional meeting between Marroquin's son Rodrigo Lara Bonilla - who has the same name as his father, the Justice Minister who was assassinated - and the three sons of Luis Carlos Galán, the leader of the Colombian New Liberalism political party who was killed by Escobar Gaviria in 1989. At that meeting, and the thread of the documentary, Marroquín apologizes to the children of Lara and Galan, who ensure him there is nothing to forgive. "Of what use is drug money, if you cannot use it to buy even a pound of rice," he said as he recalled the times when his family was barricaded in his house, surrounded by money but with no food. The program will be repeated tomorrow at 5:00 pm and Sunday at 10:00 p.m. (La Prensa)

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