Juan Sebastián Marroquín, born Juan Pablo Escobar Henao — as in, son of one of the most notorious drug kingpins, ever — has an answer to the drug war the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency likely won’t heed.
To end the nefarious, politically-motivated, and inordinately pernicious War on Drugs, legalize.
In fact, legalize all currently-illicit substances.
Answering questions from El Mundo in a recent interview — of many, pertaining to his new autobiographical book, “Pablo Escobar In Fraganti” — Marroquín provided the answer nations like Portugal found most effective in quashing the long-troubled drug war.
‘Is ending the war on drugs possible someday?’ El Mundo’s Hugo Sáenz asked.
‘The day [drugs] are legalized and regulated,’ Marroquín replied.
Asked whether Marroquín, himself, would be in favor of — assumedly — blanket legalization, the drug lord’s son offered a somewhat surprising, yet reasoned, response.
‘I am in favor of regulation,’ Marroquín explained, because ‘for me, drugs are already legal. They can reach any location, unimpeded.’
Comparing two calls made at the same time — one for home pizza delivery versus calling a dealer for drugs — the drugs would arrive before the pizza, he noted.
A popular misperception about legalization — perpetuated primarily by well-funded and cunning drug war propaganda — falsely claims legalization would birth countless social and health issues, increase exponentially the rate of addiction, and doom youth to desperate lives of dependence.
Indeed, Pablo Escobar’s son seems to have either derived his opinion from the indisputable failures of the drug war, itself, or from his unmistakably street-wizened father — who would have known the health of his multi-billion-dollar empire hinged on the basic premise of drugs’ illegality.
Sáenz queried the junior Escobar on whether legalization and regulation would lead to increased health spending, violence, death, and communicable diseases, Marroquín astutely pointed out,
‘On the contrary, the status of being illegal — (obtainable only through the black market) — means drug quality is worse.’
Without the standardization of quality, as would come from regulatory controls, drugs are more likely to contain undesirable additives, be of widely varying strengths, or stray from purity so far as to be either untenable or outright dangerous.
Cocaine, he continued, would be far likelier to contain high percentages of things like ground glass — additives which not only do not add to quality of product, but which detract detrimentally from a user’s health.
‘They are worse,’ Marroquín asserted, ‘because they are prohibited.’
Further, he observed keenly, anti-drug propaganda is the most reliable guarantor people will seek out and use illicit substances.
About the cable show, Narcos, the younger Escobar opined, ‘I wrote a chapter [in the new book] devoted to the series because there has been a glorification of my father’s criminal activity, and an addition of glamor to a story that has none of that.’
Producers of such series confuse younger generations into wanting to become the next Pablo Escobar — even inciting them to violence — as the influence of media in glamorizing the high-level drug trade shades the bloody and brutal reality.
Sáenz also touched on a previously discussed and hotly contentious revelation from Marroquín’s book — that his “father worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America.”
Marroquín reiterates Escobar worked for both the CIA and DEA while in the height of power, though points out that relationship with U.S. agencies has not yet been explicitly proven — and, for him, the book and his father’s statements on the topic are as deep an investigation he plans to perform.
Not that Marroquín would discourage dogged investigations by people independent of any government — in fact, he asserted, the prospect of proving collusion or complicity by the world’s two largest agencies should constitute a tantalizing prospect.
In the meantime, Marroquín has taken personal accountability for his father’s violent crimes — meeting with around one hundred different families, for which he claims a 100 percent success rate.
Gilded though the image of the outlaw, Pablo Escobar, has become, his son has — for all intents and purposes — done his best to abate positive press where none should exist.
And that includes advocating the best possible end to the political establishment’s War on Drugs — whether it be legalization, decriminalization, regulation, or an agreeable hybrid — to save lives and end the reign of terror drugs’ illegality continues to provide as a gift to the drug lords and cartels so personally familiar to Escobar’s son.