Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar

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Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar
Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar.jpg
Original Spanish version
AuthorVirginia Vallejo
Original titleAmando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar
GenreAutobiography, biography
PublisherCanongate (UK)
Knopf Doubleday (US)
Publication date
Published in English
  • 384 (UK Edition)
  • 416 (US Edition)

Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar is the translation of the title "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar", a memoir of the Colombian author and journalist Virginia Vallejo. It was originally written in Spanish and was published by Random House Mondadori on 22 September 2007, and Random House Inc. of New York on 4 October 2007.[1]

The book describes the five years-long (1982-1987) romantic relationship of the author with Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellin cartel, and it became instantly the #1 bestseller in Colombia, Latin America, and the Hispanic market in the United States. It has been translated to sixteen languages, and inspired the movie Loving Pablo (2017).[2][3]

Vallejo's memoir is also her personal intimate biography of Pablo Escobar; a moving and terrible love story with many facets, but also a historical document about Colombian tragedies and political corruption in the second part of the 20th century.[4]


The book is divided in an introduction and three parts: The Days of Innocence and Dreams; The Days of Splendor and Terror; and The Days of Absence and Silence.

In the Introduction, Virginia Vallejo describes her departure from Colombia on 18 July 2006 in a special flight of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), after she has accused a former senator and minister of justice, Alberto Santofimio, of instigating the assassination of a former presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Galan, and after she had offered her cooperation to the Department of Justice in ongoing high-profile criminal cases.[5][6]

The story begins with the joy and passion of two new lovers -Pablo, an ambitious rookie politician from humble origins, and Virginia, a socialite and media personality, both 32 years old- and continues with the evolution of their relationship and Escobar's personality during his war against the extradition treaty between Colombia and the United States, and the terrorist activities of him and the Medellin cartel in their last years.[7]

Like a snowball, Vallejo describes the birth and boom of the cocaine industry that turned her lover into a billionaire, thanks to the cooperation of leading politicians; the origins of the Colombian rebel organizations, and the paramilitary squads founded by Escobar and his partners; the assassinations of the justice minister Rodrigo Lara in 1984, and the siege of the Palace of Justice in 1985; the suffering of the journalist after she had ended her relationship with the drug kingpin in 1987, and her cooperation with the anti drug German agency BKA in 1988; the Cuban connection, and the bombing of an airplane with 110 people on board in 1989 (Avianca Flight 203); the assassination of Luis Carlos Galán, and three more presidential candidates; the origins of Escobar's war against the Cali cartel and the Colombian state, followed by the era of narcoterrorism from 1988 to 1993; the coalition of enforcement agencies and Escobar's enemies involved in his hunt; and, finally, the worldwide reaction to the death of the Number One Enemy of the United States on 2 December 1993.[8]


The release of the book created a political scandal in Latin America and the Hispanic television channels in the US, due to Vallejo's description of the relationship of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin and Cali cartels with several presidents - like Alvaro Uribe, Alfonso López and Ernesto Samper - and Colombian enforcement agencies.[9][10] Thanks to Vallejo's revelations, the Colombian government reopened the so-called "cases of the century": the siege of the Palace of Justice, followed by a massacre of more than 100 people, including eleven Supreme Court Justices, committed by the army; and the assassination of Luis Carlos Galan in 1989.[11]

Vallejo's book was commented by The New York Times and El País of Madrid, among hundreds of media worldwide.[12][13] Also, by Colombian, Venezuelan and Ecuadorian presidents, a former American ambassador to Bogota, human rights organizations, and the rebel FARC.[14][15][16][17]

In 2008 and 2009, president Rafael Correa of Ecuador showed "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar" on television.[18][19]

Political asylum to the author[edit]

On 3 June 2010, the United States of America granted political asylum to the Colombian author under the precepts of the American Constitution, the Geneva Convention Against Torture, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[20] The decision of the judge was based on Virginia Vallejo's career of decades as a journalist; her testimonies under oath in historic criminal cases that resulted in lengthy convictions; her description of atrocities and massacres in her book and in the court; the threats that she had received from members of the Colombian Government and the paramilitary; and the brutal character assassination of the journalist in media owned by presidential families or their powerful associates, all of them documented in hundreds of pages of evidence and later erased from the Internet.[21][22][23]


According to the author's agent, Liepman AG of Zürich, the book "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar" will be released in foreign languages during 2017. The countries and publishers are, in alphabetical order:[24][25]

The Greek, Polish, Brazilian, Dutch and Finnish books were released in the first semester of 2017;[26] the rest came out in late 2017 and early 2018. Planeta released "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar" in Spain on 25 October 2017. The Latin American releases have not been confirmed yet. Vintage-Knopf Doubleday launched both the Spanish and English titles in North America on 29 May 2018.[27]

The movie Loving Pablo (2017)[edit]

The film Loving Pablo is based on Vallejo's book, and was released on 6 September 2017 during the 74th Venice Film Festival. The role of the journalist is played by Penélope Cruz, while the drug kingpin by Javier Bardem, both winners of the Oscar of the Academy of Hollywood as best supporting actors.[28][29]


  1. ^ "Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar. Random House". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Loving Pablo, official website". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  3. ^ Young, Deborah (5 September 2017). "Loving Pablo: Film Review. Venice 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Biography and autobiographical book". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. ^ Goodman, Joshua (19 July 2006). "Pablo Escobar's Ex-Lover Flees Colombia". Fox News. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  6. ^ Muse, To (1 October 2006). "Drug lord's lover enthralls Colombia socialite makes allegations against elite". The Washington Post. Bogotá. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  7. ^ ""Cómo conocí a Pablo Escobar"" ["How to met Pablo Escobar"] (in Spanish). 30 September 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  8. ^ "About the book: Loving Pablo". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Colombian general jailed for 30 years over Galan death". BBC. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  10. ^ Romero, Simon (2 October 2007). "Colombian Leader Disputes Claim of Tie to Cocaine Kingpin". The New York Times. Bogotá. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Virginia Vallejo es nueva testigo en holocausto del palacio" [Virginia Vallejo is new witness in palace holocaust]. Noticias Uno (in Spanish). Bogotá. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  12. ^ Romero, Simon (3 October 2007). "President Uribe of Colombia denies ties to Escobar". The New York Times. Bogotá. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  13. ^ Relea, Frances (4 October 2017). ""El narcoestado soñado por Escobar tiene más vigencia que nunca"" ["The narco-state dreamed by Escobar is more present than ever"]. El País (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Hugo Chávez llama a Uribe "Vito corleone"" [President Hugo Chávez calls to Álvaro Uribe as "Vito Corleone" by book "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar"] (in Spanish). 9 November 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  15. ^ Gómez, Jorge (18 April 2017). "Embajador Frechette habla sobre Uribe y la relación con el narcotráfico" [Frechette talks about Álvaro Uribe]. El Espectador (in Spanish). Bogotá. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Colombia: Uribe Must Respect Judicial Independence". Human Rights Watch. 8 October 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  17. ^ "FARC denuncia la trayectoria gangsteril de Álvaro Uribe" [Farc denounces Álvaro Uribe's criminal record] (in Spanish). 4 March 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Correa desafía a abogados colombianos" [President Correa challenges Colombian lawyers]. La Hora (in Spanish). Quito. 12 July 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  19. ^ "President Correa show the book "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar"". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Virgnia Vallejo explica su asilo político (Minuto 1:20)" [Virginia Vallejo explains her political asylum (minute 1:20)] (in Spanish). 4 June 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Political Asylum to Virginia Vallejo, CNN" [Political Asylum to Virginia Vallejo, CNN] (in Spanish). 6 November 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Los narcopresidentes colombianos" [The Colombian narco-presidents] (in Spanish). 28 November 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Los enemigos de Virginia Vallejo" [Virginia Vallejo’s enemies] (in Spanish). 28 November 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  24. ^ "The Spanish Bookstage: Translations of Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Authors of Liepman Agency". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  26. ^ "Glovo libros publishing". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Planeta publishing". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  28. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (30 August 2017). "'Loving Pablo' Clips, Javier Bardem & Penelope Cruz Take On Escobar – Venice". Deadline. Hollywood. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  29. ^ Rankin, Seija (1 September 2017). "Javier Bardem on becoming Pablo Escobar for his new film, Loving Pablo—and reuniting with Penelope Cruz onscreen". E News. Retrieved 3 October 2017.

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