The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World by Tom Feiling - review by John Sweeney

John Sweeney


The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World


Penguin Books 350pp £9.99

Sir Keith Morris, who was Her Majesty’s man in Bogotá when Pablo Escobar went to spend more time with Santa Muerta (Holy Death) in 1993, put it like this: 

I started to have my doubts immediately after Escobar was killed, when the American machine went into briefing us that ‘We’ve got rid of Escobar, but just as much cocaine is coming out of Colombia, so let’s go on to Cali.’ All these people had died, and Escobar had been killed, but if that effort hadn’t had any effect on the cocaine business, this suggested that it was all much more complicated. 

Tom Feiling reports that one of the chaps who took over from Escobar was Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía, alias Chupeta (‘Lollypop’), who was finally nicked in Brazil in 2007, along with his laptop. By this time he was worth, by conservative estimate, £900 million and had used a

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RLF - March