Virginia Vallejo

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Colombian journalist, media and television personality, and socialite Virginia Vallejo Garca. She is currently a political refugee in the United States of America. Vallejo, who grew up in a wealthy family, attended the Anglo-Colombian School and subsequently began working as an English instructor in Bogotá. In 1963, she transferred to the presidency of Banco del Comercio and married Zamorano and Giovanelli, the CEOs of CBS Security and Data. After his divorce from his wife in 1971, Vallejo began working at Cervecera Andina. During her time there, she obtained her first television position. She was married to her second spouse, David Stivel, from 1978 to 1981. She created her own program, “TV Impacto,” in 1981. She was also employed by Caracol Radio, where she directed the program Al Ataque! Vallejo is the first reporter to conduct an interview with the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The interview was conducted in January 1983, in the midst of an ardent relationship that would last until 1987. In the years that followed, she would grace the covers of numerous magazines and star in a soap opera. In October 1994, Vallejo left the media industry to establish the South American division of a United States-based multilevel marketing company. As a result of her willingness to testify against Alberto Santofimio, she applied for and was granted political asylum by the United States government. Vallejo currently resides in Miami, Florida, and he continues to be the subject of public fascination in Colombia and the United States.

Youth and Early Life

Virginia Vallejo was born on August 26, 1949, in Cartago, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, close to her family’s property. She was the eldest of her parents Juan Vallejo Jaramillo and Mary Garcia Rivera four children. Her father was a businessman. In addition to being financially successful, her family was also politically influential.

Her grandfather, Eduardo Vallejo Varela, served as Colombia’s minister of the economy from 12 April 1930 to 7 August. Her grandmother, Sofa Jaramillo Arango, could trace her family back to a nobleman from Extremadura, Spain, who could trace his own lineage back to Emperor Charlemagne.

Vallejo and her parents returned to Bogotá in 1950, where her younger siblings were born: brothers Felipe (1951) and Antonio (1955-2012) and sister Sofa (1957). She began her education in the kindergarten managed by Elvira Lleras Restrepo, the sister of President Carlos Lleras Restrepo.

She continued her education at the Anglo-Colombian School, with which she has a personal connection. Her great-uncle Jaime Jaramillo Arango, a professor of medicine and surgery, author, diplomat, and politician, co-founded the organization.

Early Profession and Marriage

In 1967, Virginia Vallejo began her career as an English instructor at the Centro Colombo Americano in Bogotá. There she labored until the end of 1968. In 1969, she began instructing in the Banco del Comercio presidency.
When she was 19 or 20, Vallejo married for the first time. Fernando Francisco, CEO of CBS Security and Data, Zamorano, and Giovanelli, was her spouse. He was 25 years older and a widower than Vallejo.

In Venezuela, the ceremony took place in a civil court. However, the union lasted only two years, and the couple divorced in 1971. Vallejo was the director of public relations for Cervecera Andina in 1972. During this time, she obtained an offer to appear on a television program directed by Carlos Lemos Simmonds and Anbal Fernández de Soto.

In 1978, she married David Stivel, an Argentinean television, theater, and film director and chief of the Clan Stivel. Stivel was residing in Colombia at the time, having been exiled from his native country by its military junta. She filed for divorce from Stivel in 1981, but the subsequent documentation took two years to complete.

Vallejo’s Media vocation

Before 1998, there were three government-run television channels in Colombia. Two of the channels were commercial, while one is for official use. The name of the official channel was Inravisión. It rented time slots to programadoras, independent production companies frequently owned by prominent journalists and members of the presidential family. This enabled her to serve as a news anchor as well as a host for other types of programs.

She began her career in the media in 1972 as the host of “Oiga Colombia, Revista del Sábado,” where she remained for three years. She hosted the musical variety programs ‘Éxitos 73’, ‘Éxitos 74’, and ‘Éxitos 75’ between 1973 and 1975. She joined TV Sucesos-A3 as a correspondent in 1973 and was promoted to international editor in 1975, a position she held until 1977.

She also hosted the game show ‘TV Crucigrama’, a culinary show with celebrity chef Segundo Cabezas, and a children’s television program. Also in 1973, she was recruited as a film critic by a TV magazine. In January 1978, she was hired as a news presenter for Noticiero 24 Horas. She attended the inauguration of Taiwanese President Chiang Ching-kuo as an honored visitor of the government at that time, having attained international prominence as a journalist.

She received the APE, Asociación de Periodistas del Espectáculo (Association of Entertainment Journalists) award for Best Television Anchor for three consecutive years. (1978-80). In 1978, she was also elected vice president of the Association of Colombian Announcers.

Between 1978 and 1985 and 1991 and 1994, Vallejo covered the Miss Colombia pageant exclusively for Caracol Radio and other stations. She was selected in the directing effort ‘Colombian Connection’ by Gustavo Nieto Roa. (1979). She collaborated with her then-husband David Stivel on RTI Productions’ “Cuidado con las Mujeres!” from 1979 to 1980.

In 1981, in collaboration with fellow correspondent Margot Ricci, Vallejo created her own programadora, TV Impacto. In that year, she traveled to Israel at the invitation of the country’s government to produce a program about The Holy Land. She traveled to London, England in order to chronicle the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. She was the only journalist from Colombia who attended the ceremony.

She underwent rhinoplasty in the same year, which was performed by the renowned Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy. She was offered the opportunity to feature in a Hollywood film, but she declined due to her busy schedule.

In 1984, she was recruited as the international editor of Grupo Radial Colombiano, and the following year, she became the anchorwoman of Telediario. In 1985, she appeared on the covers of “Bazaar” and “Cosmopolitan.” The magazine “Elenco” labeled her “The Symbol of an Era.”

She attended Institut für Journalismus in Berlin on a German government scholarship from 1988 to 1991, majoring in economic journalism. She was featured in the telenovela “Sombra de tu Sombra” after returning to her native country. She also began serving as a member of the Association of Colombian Announcers’ board of directors in the same year.

She left the Colombian media in October 1994 after establishing the South American branch of the American multinational company Neways International. In 1999, she was ranked among the ten loveliest Colombian women in ‘Hombre’ magazine’s millennium issue.

From 2009 to 2010, Vallejo was a columnist for the Venezuelan opposition newspaper ‘6to Poder,’ which was published in 2009 to 2010. However, former President Hugo Chávez shut down the publication and imprisoned its editor.

Connection with Pablo Escobar

In January 1983, Virginia Vallejo was the first journalist to conduct an interview with Pablo Escobar, a drug kingpin and narco-terrorist. People criticized the interview, which was filmed at the Medelln garbage dump, for humanizing Pablo Escobar. During the interview, Escobar spoke exhaustively about his charity project, Medelln Sin Tugurios. (Medellin without slums).

Escobar was a minor celebrity in his nation prior to the interview. In 1982, despite being married at the time, he reportedly exclaimed, “I want her” upon seeing Vallejo on television, despite being in a relationship. Later that year, they met and eventually became lovers. Escobar was renowned for his ruthlessness and violent lifestyle. Nevertheless, he was engaging and had a sense of humor. These were the characteristics that Vallejo found attractive.

Regarding Escobar, the relationship proved beneficial. The interview elevated him to national fame. He became so prominent that newspapers began to refer to him as “Robin Hood of Medelln.” Whether or not Escobar had genuine sentiments for Vallejo is debatable. Many believed that he was using her to gain prominence on the national stage.

1987 marked the end of Vallejo’s relationship with Escobar. Son of Escobar asserts that his father severed all ties with Vallejo after learning that he was not her only partner. He described the last time he had seen her. She was weeping outside the gate of one of their estates as the guards of her ex-lover refused to let her into the compound.

By the early 1990s, Escobar’s popularity and notoriety had declined significantly. Vallejo did not fare any better. Escobar’s relationship with the aristocracy of his country was symbiotic. They would accept his money and disregard his illegal conduct. These elites utterly shunned her, and she eventually disappeared from public view.

Confrontation with Neways International

Virginia Vallejo joined Neways International in 1994 and established approximately 22,500 independent distributors in Colombia and South America within the first 18 months. Three years later, she was recognized as the first independent Colombian distributor to be awarded the Diamond rank. In 1998, however, her contract was terminated by the company’s proprietors, Thomas and Leslie DeeAnn Mower, and subsequently transferred to their children.

Then, Vallejo filed a business litigation against Neways International. However, fourteen years would pass before the presiding judge concluded the case. In 2003, the Mowers would be indicted in a separate case and sentenced to 36 months in prison in March 2005.

Political Asylees in the United States

Vallejo witnessed Escobar’s interactions with Colombia’s aristocracy during her time with him. Alberto Santofimio, a former senator and minister of justice who served as the connection between Pablo Escobar and the Colombian ruling class, was tried in July 2006 for his role in the conspiracy that led to the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán. Vallejo stepped forward and consented to testify for Attorney General Iguarán, but the presiding judge and Inspector General Maya Villazón shut down the case immediately.

Realizing she was in peril, Vallejo contacted the US embassy to request protection. In exchange, she vowed to give them all the information she had on the Mower family and the relationship between Cali cartel bosses and Colombian government officials. The DEA arranged a special flight from Colombia to Miami, where she arrived on July 18, 2006. On June 3, 2010, she was granted political asylum in the United States.

Vallejo’s Later Life

Vallejo has testified in two significant cases since 2006. In July 2008, her testimony implicated the military and President Belisario Betancur in the reopened case of the Palace of Justice siege (6 & 7 November 1985), which resulted in the deaths of more than 100 individuals, including 11 Supreme Court Justices. In July 2009, she testified in the reopened investigation into the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán.

In 2007, Vallejo published her memoir, “Amando a Pablo, odiando an Escobar,” through Knopf Doubleday in the United States and Canongate in the United Kingdom. The novel was adapted into the 2017 Spanish drama film Loving Pablo. In the film, she was played by Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. Javier Bardem portrayed the character of Escobar. The premiere of the film occurred at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.

Estimated Net Worth

The primary sources of income for Virginia Vallejo are journalists, autobiographers, socialites, and presenters. Her estimated net worth is $5 million. Virginia Vallejo’s automobiles and way of life are not sufficiently supported by evidence.