My father didn’t carry a weapon in La Catedral because there was always a guard by his side, ready to pass him a submachine gun or a cell phone. This relaxed atmosphere suddenly evaporated, however, when the media reported that the Cali Cartel was planning to bomb the prison from an airplane.
I went up to the prison a few days later. It seemed deserted. There was nobody in the main hall, just a couple of frightened-looking guards. Where is everybody? I wondered as a guard signaled me to follow him down a dirt path toward the soccer field. From there, he pointed at the woods, where a few wooden cabins were hidden amid the vegetation.
I realized then that my father and all of his men had moved to shelters they’d built just inside the prison’s perimeter fence. I couldn’t find my father’s cabin until he emerged from a thicket and showed me the way. When I asked him what was going on, he told me he’d decided to evacuate the main building because that was the area most likely to be bombed.“Everyone’s been instructed that if anyone flies over, we shoot. This airspace is off limits. I’m going to see if I can put in some antiaircraft artillery. I chose to put my cabin in this cleft in the mountain because it can’t be seen from above or from within the woods. Not even you could find me, so I don’t have to worry. But it’s twice as cold because there’s a little spring of ice-cold water that runs under it and the sun never reaches it.” My father had selected the worst area for his cabin.