Pablo Escobar's top hit man claims literary icon Gabriel Garcia Marquez worked with El Patron



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John "Popeye" Vasquez.


John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, working as one of Pablo Escobar's top hit men, killed at least 300 people and was implicated in the deaths of 3,000 more.

Velásquez, aka Popeye, was a key functionary in Escobar's Medellin cartel. And, as he claimed in an interview earlier this month, his duties extended to meeting with Latin American luminaries and national leaders on behalf of the cartel.

Speaking with Puerto Rico's Wapa TV, Popeye said that he hand-delivered letters from Escobar to Colombian literary icon Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who then passed the letters on to Fidel and Raul Castro.

"I am going to give you a key bit of information: The link between everyone [Escobar, Cuba and the US] is called Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel Laureate," Popeye said, according to Colombia Reports.


"Raul Castro received cocaine on behalf of Pablo Escobar and Fidel was aware," Popeye said in an interview with the Argentine outlet Todo Noticias. He added that Raul Castro was responsible for cocaine's arrival in Miami.

The former hit man, released in 2014 after 23 years in jail in Colombia for terrorism and narcotrafficking, backed up his claim by describing his meeting with Garcia Marquez.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Raul Castro

Javier Galeano/Associated Press

In this December 2, 2006, photo, Cuba's acting President Raul Castro, brother of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, left, chats with Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez during a military parade in Havana, Cuba.

"I was in Mexico carrying a letter to the Nobel Laureate for Raul and Fidel Castro; a manuscript of Escobar's," Popeye said.

"When I got off the plane the Mexican police were waiting for me and took me to where 'Gabo' was signing autographs," he continued, according to Colombia Reports. "He called me aside and said, 'Popeye, where is the letter?' and I gave it to him."


In the message, Popeye told Todo Noticias, "Pablo Escobar was asking Fidel for a Russian submarine to carry the drug from Mexico to Havana, and with this submarine, to Miami."

"That (Fidel) is not a world leader, he is a dictator and a bandit," Popeye said, according to Clarín. "I was in Key West, I saw the drug."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Colombian novelist and journalist, is a revered figure in Latin America, known best for magical realism, the literary style used in his well-known 1967 work, "One Hundred Years of Solitude."

He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982, and his death in early 2014 triggered an outpouring of grief from around the world.

He was friendly with Fidel Castro for much of his life. Garcia Marquez's politics and his links to Castro prompted the FBI to spy on him for 24 years.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fidel Castro

Jose Goitia/Associated Press

In this March 3, 2000 photo, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, left, and Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez speak during a dinner at the annual cigar festival in Havana, Cuba.

Popeye, 52, has become something of a public figure since his release, calling himself "the historical memory of the Medellín Cartel."

Prior to his release in August last year for "good behavior," he speculated that there was an 80% chance former rivals would kill him.

In the interview, he described on camera how he kidnapped and killed Colombian functionaries as ordered by Escobar.

Pablo Escobar hit man El Chapo

AP Photo/ William Fernando Martinez

In this June 27, 2006, file photo, John Jairo Velasquez, a former hit man for Pablo Escobar, gives his testimony while holding a book titled


He is also reportedly responsible for the 1989 bombing of Avianca Flight 203 in Colombia, which killed 107 people, and for the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Galán, which plunged the country into a bloody period of narco violence.

Popeye stressed that he was not formally linking the world-famous Garcia Marquez to the Medellin network, only that the novelist "served as a link by delivering letters."

"I never said that he read the letters and that he was a trafficker," Popeye said, according to Colombia Reports.

"The traffickers were Raul and Fidel Castro."

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