In my opinion, one of the most captivating female characters in the telenovela, Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal, is not Pablo Escobar’s wife, Pati, but his lover, Regina Parejo. Regina Parejo, also known as Virginia Vallejo, is a well-known journalist and author who engaged in a temporary romantic relationship with Pablo Escobar in the 1980’s during the height of Pablo Escobar’s power and influence in Colombia. The telenovela presents Virginia as a very strong-willed and brilliant woman. Pablo is infatuated with her not only for her very apparent beauty, but also because Virginia embodies everything Pablo Escobar wants to become. She represents Colombia’s elite, a group Pablo Escobar could never seem to truly become a part of or be accepted by.
I too found Virginia’s character to be very captivating and intriguing. I wanted to know more about Virginia’s life after her relationship with Pablo came to an end. Where is she now? What happened after she testified against members of the cartel? Most importantly, I wanted to know why she fell in love with a man she clearly knew was a monster. A woman like Virginia could have had almost any man she wanted, yet she chose to be with Pablo Escobar. This is something I still have a hard time understanding.
In 2006, with the help of the United States DEA, Virginia fled to the United States. The United States recognized she was the key in a 2.1 billion dollar criminal case, and her testimony was imperative. Without it, they had nothing. Twenty-three others had testified against the Pablo Escobar and the cartel in the past, and all of them were assassinated. Virginia’s decision to testify clearly demonstrates her strength and bravery. Without the DEA’s protection, Virginia most likely would have been killed in a very short period of time. But, it wasn’t until 2010 that Virginia received political asylum in the United States. Today, she resides in Miami.
Eventually, Virginia Vallejo decided she wanted to share her story with the rest of the world, and in 2007 she published, “Amando a Pablo, Odiando a Escobar.” In this book, she explains the logistics of Pablo Escobar’s overnight success in the drug industry. It is a love story, but also chronicles the transformation of Pablo Escobar into the monster he became.