Following the success of the popular telenovela Pablo Escobar: The Boss of Evil, Colombian television producers are back with another dramatized crime story based on the true story of one insider’s involvement in the downfall of the Cali Cartel.
The original story, the result of a reporting effort that spanned 12 years and “1000 hours of phone interviews,” was originally published by veteran Los Angeles journalist William Rempel as At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel.
Rempel told Colombia Reports that his book tells the story of “an average man,” Jorge Salcedo, and his story of how he brought down the Cali Cartel from the inside.
In Rempel’s story, Jorge Salcedo is a part-time soldier, a gifted engineer, a respected businessman and family man – and a man who despises Pablo Escobar for patriotic and deeply personal reasons. He is introduced to the godfathers of the Cali cartel, who are at war with Escobar and desperately want their foe dead. With mixed feelings, Jorge agrees to help them.
Once in the cartel, Salcedo quickly faces the fact that once in, “there is no way out.” Engulfed in the “violence, corruption, and brutality” of the Cali Cartel’s $7 billion crime syndicate, finally Selcedo is forced to confront an order he can neither obey – because of his conscience – nor disobey – because of his need to survive.
Thus begins a heart-pumping roller coaster ride of intensifying peril. Secretly aided by a pair of young American DEA agents, Jorge races time and cartel assassins to extract damaging evidence, help capture the fugitive. godfather, and save the life of a another key witness targeted for murder. Through it all, death lurks a single misstep away.
According to Rempel, the story should excite Colombian television viewers, who will be able to relate with the “everyday man” forced into a “moral crisis,” confronting the criminals who at one point came close to destroying the country.
Rempel, who doesn’t speak Spanish, told Colombia Reports he is not involved in the making of the telenovela, although he plans to play “cheerleader.” He hopes the telenovela stays true to his story, although he recognizes that film is a different medium and some details will likely be altered along the way.
The 80-episode telenovela should be released at some point next year.