Quotes From Pablo Escobar's Wife Show She Was Content Outside The Spotlight
If you've watched any of Narcos Season 2, you've probably felt a pang of deep sympathy for Tata, Pablo's wife, as she slowly realizes that she and her children need to leave Colombia. And while she has some well-articulated expressions of that despair throughout the season, pretty much every quote from Pablo Escobar's wife, Maria Victoria "Tata" Henao Vallejo, is about how little she had to do with or wanted to do with her husband's business. Because of this, Henao doesn't have very many known quotations, because largely she avoided any situation where she would be quoted. That means, unlike Pablo, she wasn't surrounded by a group of employees hanging onto her every word, nor were her phone conversations being listened to by the government.
But very occasionally, in a book about Pablo's life and family, or, once, in a public statement, Maria Victoria Henao would be quoted. Aside from the public statement, these are all recollections that other people have of her quotes, but I don't think Henao will ever be interested in sharing more of her story in a book of her own, since BBC reported she assumed the identity of Maria Isabel Santos Caballero after moving to Argentina, and has once again retreated from public life. That said, here are some of the quotations attributed to Henao from over the years.
"I fell in love with his desire to help people and his compassion for their hardship. We['d] drive to places where he dreamed of building schools for the poor. From [the] beginning, he was always a gentleman."
According to the book Pablo Escobar: My Father , by Juan Pablo Escobar (who also goes by Sebastian Marroquin), the above are Henao's words on why she fell in love with Pablo in the first place. It shows the contradiction in the different sides of Pablo Escobar: The man who was generous with the poor people in Colombia, with the man who spent countless hours building a drug empire.
"I miss you so much, you're making me so badly. I feel weak, [...] How are you? How do you feel? I do not want to leave, my love, I need a lot. I mourn with you because today I feel sad. It's eight o'clock and think of you, how much I love you. [...] I will fight with all the strength of my heart for you. I promise. Our history will continue. Hug you, kiss you, I need you. Your love."
The passionate letter above was taken from a love note that's quoted in Alonso Salazar's book The Parable of Pablo (or La Parabola de Pablo in Spanish). Based on this love note, it sounds like, as with her depiction in Narcos, she really cared about him.
"My mother said she would go to Medellín 'against Pablo's wishes.'"
According to her son's book, after the family patriarch's assassination, Maria decided to go against her late husband's wishes and attend his funeral. The younger Escobar writes that even though Pablo warned his wife and children not to go to his funeral or grave, that his mother insisted on saying goodbye, even though they had to spend most of the ceremony hiding in their SUVs because of a reported attack.
"I am a prisoner in Argentina for being Colombian. They want to try the ghost of Pablo Escobar because they want to prove that Argentina is combatting drug trafficking."
The above is one of the only direct quotes Henao has offered. After being sent to Argentinian prison for alleged money laundering in 2000, Henao, then going by Caballero, gave this statement after, according to Kienyke, she was released because of a lack of evidence, and she was never officially charged. Clearly, by this point she was tired of being associated so strongly with drug activity after spending years living in obscurity in Buenos Aires. Since then she's stayed pretty quiet and out of he spotlight, even while Narcos puts her back into it.
Image: Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix