Pablo Escobar vs Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

Two drug lords, two narcotic empires and two absurdly good moustaches: it’s the clash of the cartel kingpins, Colombia’s Pablo Escobar and Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman…

THE LEGACY

PABLO ESCOBAR: Escobar’s Medellin cartel was responsible for 80% of the cocaine that entered the USA during his reign of terror. He pretty much single-handedly set up the narcotics infrastructure of today. He also became a congressman, built his own prison and had an eventual body count of around 4,000 people.

EL CHAPO: The Sinaloa cartel was responsible for half of all narcotics making their way into the states – and over 4,000 pounds a month of cocaine into Chicago alone, enough that he became the city’s first Public Enemy No. 1 since Al Capone.

THE SERIES

Pablo Escobar El Chapo

PABLO ESCOBAR: Narcos is the drug cartel drama all others should live up to. The realism seems at odds with the sheer ridiculousness of the material… until you remember this actually happened. Well, mostly. It depends how much you listen to Escobar’s son on the matter.

EL CHAPO: El Chapo is decent enough. It’s just that in nearly every instance, Narcos does it better, from the realistic brutality to the characters perpetually stuck in a mire of moral grey areas. Still, not a bad binge watch.

THE MONEY

Pablo Escobar Rubber Bands

PABLO ESCOBAR: It’s hard to pin down the amount of money Escobar earned, but estimates place it around $30 billion. He spent $2,500 a month on rubber bands just to hold his cash – as well as offering to pay Colombia’s $10 billion debt.

El Chapo's 22 billion in cash

EL CHAPO: Some drug lords keep their fortunes under wraps; Guzman on the other hand was recognised on Forbes’ billionaires list in 2009. We can only wonder what his tax return was like.

THE EXTRAVAGANCE

Casa Malca

PABLO ESCOBAR: Escobar set up a zoo containing hippos and giraffes, and bought a jet just to fly his money. His money flew more luxuriously than most of us do. Go figure.

El Chapo's mansion is raised by officials

EL CHAPO: Guzman tended to live humbly – when he wasn’t smuggling prostitutes and drugs into prison. The biggest expense was an apparent $100 million bounty on Donald Trump’s head. For a man known for building tunnels, it’s surprising he cares so much about that wall…

THE WATCHES

Pablo Escobar's Rolex Day Date
Pablo’s diamond encrusted Day-Date sold at auction for only $8,500.

PABLO ESCOBAR: Escobar didn’t have a huge collection of watches, but the Rolex Day Date he did wear had more than enough diamonds to fill the void. It was auctioned off a few years ago for just $8,500, which is kind of sad really.

Ivan Guzman Twitter

EL CHAPO: Considering he’s spent time on the run, Guzman didn’t show off his wrist candy that much. His sons, on the other hand, love Twitter. Three or so Hublot Big Bangs, a clutch of Richard Milles, a Rolex Day-Date and a solid gold Urwerk UR-210 – apparently the sins of the father pay pretty well.

THE END

Pablo Escobar

PABLO ESCOBAR: From almost becoming one of the leaders of the country to being shot dead on a crumbling rooftop with police officers posing for photographs… things didn’t turn out well for the mighty Escobar.

El Chapo

EL CHAPO: This man just won’t stay put! A serial escape artist, Guzman jumped his prison ship in 2001 and 2014 and was only recaptured in 2016. In short, he’s still very much in the game.

VERDICT?

While Escobar’s legacy is remarkable, we’re going to have to give this one to El Chapo. Not only is the man still alive, but he was still breaking out of prison at close to 60. If only he took a few minutes to drum some of his own discretion – and taste – into his kids, starting by banning them from social media…

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