"Plata o plomo" was one of Pablo Escobar's favorite colloquialisms. In English it means "silver or lead." Get down or lay down. Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, aka "Popeye," was the Medellin Cartel's most trusted hitman. He confessed to 300 murders and said he ordered about 3,000 more. His claim to fame is the 1989 assassination of Colombian presidential candidate Luis Galan, the only murder he has been convicted of. The man they call "Popeye" was released from prison in August of last year after serving 22 years of his 30-year sentence after snitching on Alberto Santofimio Botero, a former Colombian politician who played a role in the Galan assassination. Vasquez was a high ranking member of arguably the world's most notorious criminal organization. The murder of a presidential candidate led to the downfall of the Medellin Cartel. Escobar and his goons waged war on Colombia in hopes to gain even more political power. Now, with the news of El Chapo's daring escape, Popeye has popped up on the radar to comment on the Mexican drug lord and to air out a bit of dirty laundry by using social media.
He turned on his former cartel members, and is staying in the public eye because he feels like he has an 80 percent chance of being killed. This isn't new, though. Vasquez has a book entitled El Verdadero Pablo: Sangre, Traicion y Muerte, in which he discusses his time alongside Pablo Escobar with author Astrid Legarda Martínez. He's been on Facebook this summer posting links, videos, responding to commenters, and speaking out against his former life, saying:
"drug trafficking creates false expectations among both young and full cemeteries and jails" (translated from Spanish)
Even one of the world's most dangerous and sinister people can change.
[via The Daily Beast]