Written by CNBC
It was a quiet mid afternoon on April 5, 2019 that an old woman vanished on her way to church. This event would typically be a tragedy, but this was not typical woman. She, 51 years ago, gave birth to Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug lord who is wreaking havoc in Colombia at this very moment.
There’s no point in mincing words; this was a kidnapping. The cabinet of President Gaviria was informed that there was an opportunity to seize his mother, Hemilda, and voted, making the snap decision to seize her. Her driver was paid 3 million dollars to make her disappear.
Already some cabinet members are distancing themselves from the contentious action, despite continuing to nurse hopes of getting information about Escobar (and his location) from Hemilda. The public and members of the cabinet alike have expressed concern over taking action to force her to talk or, to be direct once again, to torture her for information.
All kidnappings, and particularly this ons, are investments. This claim is not a stretch; the act itself required a 3 million dollar bribe. Investments are only worthwhile if if the assets involved are monitored and adjusted for the maximum output. And while kidnapping is obviously quite morally ambiguous, once a kidnapping has occurred, those behind it must follow through with their original intentions and obtain a positive outcome no matter the cost.
How can the cabinet make morally gray actions pay off? By ending the drug conflict in Colombia. Gaviria’s cabinet shouldn’t waste the money they invested in this approach to combating Escobar. If the only way to get Hemilda to give up information about Escobar is to threaten or torture her, then that is what must be done.
But if this cold numbers approach is too alarming, a more human argument can be made in support of the kidnapping as well. Critics of the controversial decision to kidnap Hemilda will state that the connection between a mother and her son is sacred and that it should not be violated under any circumstances.
The editorial board of CNBC would agree under normal circumstances, but once again, these are not at all normal circumstances. One must consider the hundreds of lives Escobar has taken both directly and indirectly. We must not forget that Pablo Escobar is the world’s single largest drug lord. How many countless sons has Escobar taken from loving mothers? And how many more will he take if no one has the guts to take action and stand up to him?
Gaviria’s cabinet needs to recognize the importance of the opportunity they have. It would be shameful to waste such a golden opportunity to finally move towards ending the drug violence in Colombia. Enough lives (and money) have been lost already. Enough is enough.