THE UNTOLD TRUTH OF CESAR YUSTI, THE REAL-LIFE HITMAN IN NARCOS

THE UNTOLD TRUTH OF CESAR YUSTI, THE REAL-LIFE HITMAN IN NARCOS

 

 

The gripping Netflix series “Narcos” has enthralled viewers with its gritty portrayal of South America’s ruthless drug cartels. From the reign of Pablo Escobar to the challenges faced by the Cali Cartel and the rise of Miguel Gallardo, the show’s intense storytelling has made it a binge-worthy favorite. With the introduction of new characters post-Escobar, “Narcos” evolved into an anthology, delving deeper into the war on drugs.

 

A Shift in Focus: The Post-Escobar Era

As the series shifted its focus, the narrative drew inspiration from real-life figures. In Season 3, the Cali Cartel’s brutality is embodied by “El Navegante,” a hitman and enforcer inspired by the actual killer, Cesar Yusti. But how closely does Yusti’s reality align with his fictional counterpart?

 

The Unassuming Assassin: Cesar Yusti

Cesar Yusti, a genuine “sicario” or hitman for Colombia’s Cali Cartel, played a significant role during the cartel’s dominance over the cocaine network in the mid-90s. Yusti, a professional killer in a tumultuous era of the South American drug war, commanded fear and respect. Juan Sebastian Calero’s portrayal vividly captures Navegante’s menacing presence. While Navegante emerges on screen after Escobar’s demise in Season 2, glimpses of his character are scattered in earlier episodes, culminating in his unleashed brutality with the spotlight on the Cali Cartel.

 

The Stark Contrast: Fiction vs. Reality

Despite Calero’s compelling depiction, accounts from veteran reporter William C. Rempel paint a contrasting image of the real Cesar Yusti. According to Rempel’s book “At the Devil’s Table,” which chronicles the collaboration between Cali Cartel’s security head Jorge Salcedo and the DEA, Yusti was described as “nervous and jittery,” a man with an unassuming appearance – “plain, balding, with a less-than-perfect comb-over.” This sharp contrast reveals the intriguing divergence between the character on screen and the actual person.