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Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha “El Mexicano”

Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha biography
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Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha “El Mexicano” biography

Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha (May 14, 1947 – December 15, 1989). He was born in a town called Pacho, Cundinamarca, Colombia. He was formed into a humble peasant family. Better known with the alias “El Mexicano” because of his fascination with the Mexican nation and its culture. Rodríguez Gacha decided to interrupt his high school studies to work with Gilberto Molina, the “Tsar” of the emeralds in the Boyacá area. Gonzalo, with only 15 years old, had an admirable performance, quickly promoted in the structures of Molina.

At that time, a wave of violence was taking place, now known as the Green War, which hit the emerald zones of Colombia in the 70s and 80s. The government’s response to Misael Pastrana was to try to take the business away from the mafias and get an agreement with mining concessions in order to legalize emerald exploitation. At that point, there was already a new Tsar in the business, before it was the “Goose” Ariza Molina, Víctor Carranza and Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, began to manage the business, the first always with the vision of not mixing it with the world of drug trafficking.

Gacha, on the other hand, thought that relating to the drug lords was a good strategy. So, he left the trio and began to interact with drug dealers in Medellín. Her first contact was through Veronica Rivera de Vargas, a friend of Pablo Escobar. He was also related to José Ruperto Córdoba Mariño, alias “el colmillo”, Pedro Orejas and Luis Murcia, who were part of his band. With time Molina lashed out against Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, for having betrayed him, as well as removing control of the emeralds. Gacha came to one of his properties in Sasaima, Cundinamarca and attacked the Tsar with firearms along with 19 other people, on February 27, 1989.

His fortune increased rapidly, at the same rate as the number of his enemies. In 1976, Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha joined Pablo Escobar, Carlos Ledher and the Ochoa brothers to give life to the famous and attacked “Cartel de Medellín” the Cartel that 5 years later sponsored economically and logistically the creation of the first self-defense group called MAS. The cartel soon opened new drug trafficking routes through Mexico, Haiti, Los Angeles, Texas, Houston, and Nicaragua. All this became reality with the help of police authorities from different countries, for example, the American pilot Barry Seal was one of his henchmen, and who would later be killed when he agreed to testify against the cartel.

His power took Cundinamarca and Boyacá, the eastern plains and the Magdalena Medio, contacting the FARC and the self-defense groups. Some guerrilla fronts in the east of the country provided a surveillance service for the Mexican crops and laboratories. In 1983, he ended up confronted with this organization for theft of coca base paste and cash. Also supported by paramilitaries, he undertook a brutal extermination campaign against the UP, a party he considered an ally of the guerrillas.

By 1988, his fortune was such that he had hired Israeli and British mercenaries to train teams of assassins. Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha thus became the main commander of Narcoparamilitarism in Colombia. His actions were hidden by government forces that gave him enough impunity to act with total freedom. At least 800 members of the UP were killed.

The government of President Virgilio Barco began Operation Apocalypse, attacked the leaders of the cartel, offering 500 million pesos for Rodriguez Gacha. Subsequently, his son was captured for illegal possession of weapons in Bogotá. He was held for longer trying to pressure his father, this did not work. However, Jorge Velasquez alias El Navegante, the Mexican’s trusted man, betrayed him by revealing his location in Cartagena. The authorities arrived there. Upon warning of the presence of the authorities, they took a boat to Tolú. However, the authorities followed Rodriguez’s trail.

On December 15, 1989, 30 elite police commandos on board, two helicopter gunships landed on the El Tesoro property between Coveñas and Tolú, where they were hiding. A strong shooting started, El Mexicano and his men started the escape. On the route to Sincelejo, they were intercepted. Skillfully Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha and a bodyguard went into the banana plantations adjacent to the road. When it seemed that he managed to flee, he fell when he was wounded in the leg. At that moment another impact of a caliber bullet impacted his face, ending his life. Next to him died his son Freddy and the bodyguards that accompanied him.

Two days later, his body and that of his son were buried in his hometown in the middle of a mass funeral. Many in his village saw him as a benefactor of the poor, and they also assured him that he was a kind man.

Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, according to Forbes magazine, has been one of the richest men in the world. Owner of more than a hundred properties, farms, houses, apartments, lots and vehicles, valued at 40 billion Colombian pesos. The Mexican was seen as the generous idol of his native town. His immense fortune was a legend, as a result of the stories of guacas or buried money in his properties: cars full of gold bars, bags of dollars and emeralds were hidden in the haciendas. It is not a secret, that as a football fan and supporter of Millonarios F.C, he was the biggest investor of this team, financing hiring and salaries of the players. It is also claimed that he bought several championships in favor of his team.

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