Pablo Escobar's Son seeks forgiveness
“How do you write to a family that your own father hurt so much?”
Sebastian Marroquin, son of the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, posed this question in a letter to the families of two of his father’s most prominent victims.
Rodrigo Lara Bonilla was Colombia’s justice minister in the early 1980s and one of the first to aggressively pursue cocaine traffickers. He was murdered in 1984.
Six years later, Luis Carlos Galan was a presidential candidate who publicly decried the drug cartels. He was assassinated during a campaign rally in 1989.
Escobar ordered both hits, according to authorities.
One thing the drug lord and the public servants had in common is that they had children of roughly the same age.
Now grown, their children have embarked on a reconciliation effort that was impossible for their parents, thanks in part to a new documentary by Argentine filmmaker Nicolas Entel.
Entel’s film, “Sins of My Father,” chronicles the path toward peace taken by the young men.
Marroquin was breaking a silence of 16 years by being in the film.
Marroquin, current Colombian Sen. Juan Manuel Galan, Bogota Councilman Carlos Fernando Galan and Sen. Rodrigo Lara spoke collectively to CNN en Español about how they were brought together.
The younger Galans and Lara followed their slain fathers’ footsteps into politics. Marroquin, who was born Juan Pablo Escobar, ran away from the path his father chose, changing his name once he and his mother left Colombia, after Pablo Escobar was killed in a rooftop shootout with authorities in 1993.
“I learned many things from my father,” Marroquin says in the documentary. “The most important one was that if I want to live, I have to do the opposite of what he did. That was my lesson.”
Until now, he has lived his life largely under the radar.
It took Marroquin a lot of reflection and a lot of time to write the letter because he was fearful of offending the victims’ families.
“It was a letter that really moved us,” Juan Manuel Galan said. “We felt it was truly sincere, frank and transparent, and that this was a person who was honestly saying how he felt.”
Lara, who was 8 years old when his father was assassinated, said he originally sought revenge for his father’s death.
He still seeks justice for his father’s murder, but he has made peace with Escobar’s son.
Marroquin asked for forgiveness for his father’s acts, for crimes that Marroquin did not commit, Lara said.
True reconciliation comes from justice being served, Lara said. By cooperating in the film, his message to Colombians is about the “need to break the country’s cycle of violence,” Lara said.
“To forgive, one must remember, the other choice is to forget,” Lara said.
Putting himself in the spotlight could pose risks because of Escobar’s violent legacy, Marroquin said, but he hopes showing the reconciliation to the Colombian public on the big screen will have a positive effect.
“Nothing is more important than peace,” Marroquin said. “I think it is worth it to really risk our lives and everything we have so that peace really happens in Colombia someday.”