Episode #23 - Narco Mindset Podcast - We shall be Free

Author: Dr. Jorge L. Valdés | | Categories: addiction , author , biography , cocaine , Colombia , crime , depression , inspirational , Medellin , motivational , reform , rehab , CARTEL , CHRISTIAN , drugs , JORGEVALDESPHD , NARCO , NARCOMINDSET , prison


Episode #23
We Shall Be Free
July 8, 2020

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber



In this episode Dr. Valdes talks about how the song WE SHALL BE FREE BY
GARTH BROOKS in 1992 is so much more relevant today than it was in 1992.  In the song Garth talks about when we would truly be free, yet as we see the lyrics we realize that nothing has changed in 28 years.  We still look at the color of people’s skin, we have homeless people dying and in a country with a serious obesity problem we have children going to be hungry every day.  

Narco Mindset is an enlightening, informative, effortlessly entertaining podcast.  It contains compelling RAW storytelling and intellectually honest talk about life.  We will be delving into life challenges, life miracles, life recovery, and life opportunities. It illuminates a new generation on the power and the impact of a positive mindset.

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INTRO:              Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.

Jorge:               Today on the Narco Mindset podcast: For me, owning my own company, that was the greatest mission field; my employees, my customers. I can tell you story after story. He said, “I’m a Christian, too, and I just wanted to see if you were real or not.” I had to fight twice as hard. I’ve always had to work twice as hard in America to be accepted. I wanted my children to realize that the world they lived in was not real. We are in a war for the soul of our children because I believe that freedom does not come by financial success.  

Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes, and I am your host. In the last podcast, we talked about all the challenges the African-American community and people of color face. Today, I want to talk about a song that Garth Brooks wrote in 1992, and is so much more relevant today but yet, if we think about it, here’s Garth Brooks in 1992, writing a song as what he was seeing that was going on during this time. He was just a country-western singer. Not a prophet, not a preacher, not a political commentator. He was asked to do the national anthem at the Super Bowl, and he agreed to it on the condition that they would play this video that he had made about this song, We Shall Be Free.

The interesting thing was that the video was very, very controversial during that time. Let me read the words to you and I think that, think about it, this is 1992, and that’s 28 years away from today.

The song goes like this, “This ain’t coming from no prophet, just an ordinary man. When I close my eyes, I see the way this world shall be. When we all walk hand in hand when the last child cries for a crust of bread, when the last man dies for just the words that he said, when there’s shelter over the poorest head, we shall be free. When the last thing that we notice is the color of the skin and the first thing that we look for is the beauty within, when the skies and the oceans are clean again, then we shall be free. We shall be free. We shall be free. Stand straight, walk proud cause we shall be free. When we’re free to love anyone we choose, when this world’s big enough for all the different views, when we all can worship from our own kind of pew, then we shall be free. We shall be free.”

Interestingly he said that he’s no prophet but 28 years later, we’re looking at him, and, “Wow, what prophetic words!” What struck me the most about the song was that in 28 years, it seems like nothing has happened. We’ve had so many different presidents. We’ve had democratic, republican presidents, we’ve had an African-American president. We had all kinds of presidents. We’ve had all kinds of congress and all kinds of senates. We have all kinds of governors. Then we look at the world and it is no different than it was in 1992. When you think about that one in every six children goes to bed at night hungry, when you think about those slices of bread, when the last child cries for a crust of bread and you realize how relevant they are. Do you realize that the most powerful country on earth, America, has done nothing to eliminate child poverty and child hunger here in America?

We’ve done a lot to feed people in Africa, and that’s a wonderful thing. But you know what, when I used to be asked do I want to go overseas and preach or do I want to go overseas and do missions, I said, “Of course not. Why would I want to do that for?” They were like, “Well, I thought you were a Christian.” I said, “I am.” But to me, the biggest mission field in the world is right here in America. For me, owning my own company, that was the greatest mission field. My employees, my customers, and I can tell you story after story. I’ll tell you one story.

One time, we were called to a fire on a Sunday afternoon, and when we got there, I see this whole bunch of people sitting out in the yard. We go in to the lady and apparently we were the last company called, and she said, “Look, I don’t know why we even called you because we’ve had four companies and we don’t have enough coverage to even pay to clean and to restore the house, never mind the lifelong content that we lost. My sister was asked to take care of the house and she ended up burning the house.” I looked at all those people. My wife and I were just starting our business, and we were robbing Peter to pay Paul, I’ll be honest with you. I see her and she said, “Look, they're charging us $8,000 just to store our contents. They're charging us I don’t know how many thousands to clean the house and this and that.” It just came into my mind.

I looked at her and I said, “Are all those friends?” She said, “They're my church family.” I said, “Great! Are they willing to help you?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “If you send two people to my office on Monday, I’ll give them a gallon of concentrate. Cost me about $240, and at that time, that was a fortune to me. I’ll give them 1 gallon and I’ll teach them how to clean your content. I’ll call this company that’s [inaudible 00:06:20], they’ll come and put it in your driveway, you can store them yourself, and it will cost you wholly nothing.” She said, “Well, how much are you going to charge me for that?” I said, “Absolutely nothing.” She said, “Why?” I said, “Because I’m a Christian.” I went back into the car and my wife said, “Did you get the job?” I said, “No, not only did I not get the job, I did get some work but we gave away our last gallon of the concentrate to clean fire damages.” She didn’t say anything because my wife, the amazing woman that she is, she knew right away what had come into my heart.

On Monday morning, the adjuster calls and he’s like, “I want to talk to the owner.” He’s talking to my wife and he starts to really get angry and starts saying, “You know, this is the lowest of the lowest.” My wife said, “What are you talking about?” He says, “Well, you told his people you won't charge them anything but then you’re going to go ahead and send me a bill and if we don’t pay it and they don’t pay, you’ll [inaudible 00:07:16] their house, and they're going to be screwed.” My wife said, “No, we’re not charging them anything.” He said, “Why would you do that?” My wife said, “Because we’re Christians and we don’t have much. She said. “We’re struggling, enormously. We don’t have the money to give away the only gallon of a concentrate that we have because it cost us two hundred and somewhat dollars, but at least we have a roof over our head that is not burnt and they don’t.” When she told him that she was a Christian, he says, “I heard that crap before,” and hang up the phone.

They come over on Monday, we showed them how to do the job, gave them the gallon. I struggled. I struggled all that Sunday, “Oh my God! Why did I do that?” Something kept telling me, “Look at your roof, it’s clean. You don’t have a fire in your house.” A week passed. Two weeks passed. In the third week, I get a call from that adjuster. He says, “Meet me at Heritage School.” It was a big private school in a south-west suburb of Atlanta. I get there and he says, “Look, here’s a job.”

Apparently, there was a flood in the school, and there was water all over the place. He said, “Look, it’s like sixty-something thousand dollars. Here’s the check because I know you don’t have enough money to carry this job. I looked at him and tears came down my eyes. He said, “I’m a Christian, too, and I just wanted to see if you were for real or not.” Here we did an act of kindness and just gave a gallon that we couldn’t afford to give because there were times when I was handing out $10,000 a week out of my excess. It did come out of the fuel for my jet. Here, now, we gave this lady this and it just came back so many, many fold. We look at it in this country and we have children that are going hungry and there is so much obesity in this country, and we don’t do anything about it. It says where there's shelter over the poorest head, we shall be free. Think about it. Think about all the homeless people.

Even in New York, the first bodies that you saw that were in body bags that the media led people to believe that they were people that had died and their families could not come around and bury them, it was bullshit. It was a homeless people. People that were dying in a bag and no one knowing who they are or what they are. Enormous problem. That’s only New York City. In Miami and many, many cities in America, these people have no way to protect themselves, and yet there are so many people with so many houses. Then we ask ourselves, “When will this problem be addressed?” Then we talk about the one that’s most prevalent today. When the last thing we notice is the color of the skin. I had people went to my house and my brother-in-law was over and close friends.

My brother-in-law is Colombian, graduated top of his class, 4.0 at Georgia Tech, brilliant guy. He had done 5-6 tours between Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s a construction manager for a big, big company. He was at a job in Iowa and he says, “People looked at me and treated me like I was some type of an enemy. I’ve been racially profiled in so many places.” He’s been in this country since he was 3-4 years old. I remember I was at a store one time and I was talking to my mum in Spanish and this gentleman came up to me and said, “Speak English, you're in America.” I just couldn’t resist myself because I’m a hot-tempered Cuban, so I looked at him and said, “Sir, with all due respect, we spoke Spanish here 200 years before you immigrants came over, so why don’t you learn to speak Spanish?” He took off like a rabbit. I shouldn’t have said that I should have humbled myself and not said anything.

Sometimes the greatest response we give someone is the one we just stay quiet and silent. Let them live with their anger, their prejudice. Like I said before, we’re never going to stop people from being prejudiced. People are going to be prejudiced forever. What we need to do is not give them a reason. I’m not talking about listening to police and obeying police. I’m not talking about any of that. I’m talking about preparing ourselves, educating ourselves, educating our communities and our children so that they will become somebody so that they will have a chance to fight. Yes, I had to fight twice as hard. I’ve always had to work twice as hard in America to be accepted.

You know, the truth of the matter, I never knew if I was accepted or not. I was respected in many, many places. Now, the truth is that if Americans go to Cuba and the roles are reversed, probably the same thing is going to happen. It’s very, very sad that we live in the world that I don’t ever see people ever stopping judging others by the color of their skin. Very, very, very sad, because we definitely don’t look at the beauty within. Talking about when the skies and the oceans are clean again. Think about that, in 1992, he was talking about that. Think about climate change. Think about that now, because the world was locked down for two months, they said that they were able to see the color of water in Venice and they were able to see fish and marine life is coming back tremendously.

Isn’t that something? When we have to lock down the entire world so that our natural resources are repleted, and for example, the oceans are not devastated with plastic bottles when we take care of our climate. You know, we live in a country and in a world that some believe climate change is very, very important. Others believe that it’s just a joke. I believe that it’s important. I believe that the climate that we live with, with our future generation, or our children, and our grandchildren.

I can look at life real simple. I’m 64. If God blesses me with another 20-30 years or 10, praise God. I can’t lose. Like I tell you, I have no fear. If I die tomorrow, I’m just as happy as when I die whenever I’m dying. I’m in no rush to die but it doesn’t make a difference to me because I’m always going to win. How? I live a life for Christ. If I die, I die for Christ. If I get up there to heaven or get down into the ground and realize it was all a bunch of bullshit, I lost nothing. All I did is lived a life with no fear and with a lot of hope, so I lost nothing.

If I don’t believe and I die, and there is something then it’s a great gamble to take. I could think about a) what the hell, I just don’t give a damn about climate control, about anything because the truth of the matter is that I’ve got a lot fewer years than more. I have children and grandchildren that I adore. What world do I want to leave them? I spend a lot of time raising my children’s conscience about poverty. I made a tough decision when in 2010, I decided to walk away from my company and we had just gotten to the top of the mountain. We had jets, yachts. We were making millions of dollars and then decided to walk away so I can take my children to Mexico so they can learn and see a different culture.

My wife and I were both raised in poverty but we did not live a life of poverty anymore. By God’s grace, we built our multi-million-dollar international company, me, and two other partners, and we lived a life of excess. We had to give up the jet and the yacht but it didn’t matter because I wanted my children to realize that the world that they lived in was not real. The white suburbia world, where they lived in a million-dollar mansion, where they flew around the country in private jets when they went to the best schools. It’s easy to be a person of faith in the suburbs, very difficult in the ghetto.

There’s a lot of hope for my children. There’s little hope for the ghetto. I wanted to take my children to Mexico. I wanted them to see what the real world was like. I wanted them to learn a different culture. I wanted them to see people that loved God were missing a meal every day. I wanted them to see kids that had little hope. I wanted them to see kids with a lot of money that didn’t care about a damn thing. Going to Mexico, one of the greatest gifts was the social conscience that my children, specifically also my daughter, Isabella, got.

She helped create a program ‘I say no to drugs, obesity, and violence’ where we got kids off the streets. We started with just her friends, going to the track and running. All of a sudden, what we did is, we began to use colors. Every kid that came to track and ran had a white jersey. They could move up to a green jersey, absolutely nothing to do with physical ability because that’s what happens today. We live in a world that sports for children is so competitive. You see kids with coaches. I played baseball all my life. I don’t care if Mickey Mantle decides to go and become their coach, they're never going to become a baseball player.

Just seeing a kid swing a bat and throw a ball, I don’t care how much money their parents waste but it’s sad because they do. What happens today? Kids get to play. The ones that don’t? They’re not going to sit on the bench like I did. When I was growing up, we had to play on the streets. There was nowhere else to play. They leave, they go play video games then they get heavy, then become obese, and all of a sudden, they’ve got diabetes and it becomes a horrific vicious cycle. If you're not good enough, you don’t play, if you don’t play you’ve got options. You go play video games and that’s sad.

One of the things that my daughter came up to me saying, “Let’s give these kids points based not on physical ability but based upon how they are as a human being.” Are they coming to practice on time? If they were obese, we gave them a nutritionist that would help them to lose weight. We didn’t shame them. If they brought a friend if they did better in school if they brought a letter from their parents. If they were building human character, they got points, and when they got enough points, they got a green jersey. When they got a green jersey, we taught them how to swim and then they get points on and on and on until they get a red jersey. When they get a red jersey, then they go ahead and we give them a bicycle. Now they are triathletes.

We had a young girl that had been cutting herself repeatedly. She was bullied, she was heavy, she didn’t consider herself pretty and her only thing was just to inflict pain on herself by cutting herself. Well, she came into our program, and eventually, she did a triathlon and she was the happiest human being in the world. Her whole demeanor, everything, changed. When we started with two kids, in three years we had 300 kids. My children did get a social conscience. They realized that the world is a lot different than America.

They're proud to be Americans, they were born here. That is very, very important, to be able to not look at the moment and gratify your desire for the moment but to look at the future and make this a better world for our children and our grandchildren. I tell people when I used to do a lot of public speaking, I said, “Look, if you believe that you have no more problems because now your children are adults and they’ve gotten over all that craziness of drugs and alcohol addiction,” I say you know what, get ready, your grandchildren are coming.” We are in a war for the souls of our children.

The question becomes, “When shall we be free?” When we stand straight and walk proud. Really? Can we walk proud? And we ask ourselves that we’re doing everything humanly possible that we can to not look at the color of a person’s skin? To take care of our planet? To hurt when we know that a child goes hungry? To help the homeless? I think that when we do those things, we walk proud. While we are doing nothing but satisfying the desires of our inner nature, selfish nature, to take care of ourselves and nobody else, I don’t think we are free.

We think that we are. I thought I was free when I was making a million dollars a month and had all the wonders any human being would ever want. The truth of the matter, you know when I was free? When we came from Cuba and had nothing. When we didn’t have a penny. When my brother and I used to go to bed hungry, but we used to go to bed together. That’s when we were truly free. I believe that freedom does not come by financial success.

The wealthiest person is not he or she who has the most but he or she who needs the least. After all, how many cars, how many houses, how many pairs of shoes do we need? Go to prison and then in prison, you’re really going to begin to value life. When all you have is one pair of shoes and some shower shoes. When all you have is your uniform and three underwear and all your belongings fit in a regular, small box. Then you realize how little did we really need and how we have sold out to this message that we need all this stuff to make us happy. Not really. We don’t need to go on fancy vacations. I’m glad that at least that’s one of the things that’s happening today. Who was really thinking about traveling that much? We don’t. It’s nice if you can, it’s nice to travel around the world because it’s also good to teach your children about the world, but you know, you can do that by just reading.

My father to me was one of the most intelligent men I’d ever met. He dropped out of elementary school because he had to go work in a cafeteria because he was so poor. My father was an avid reader. By the time my brother and I were 10 years old, my father had made us read the biography of every great figure in history. Alexander the Great. Napoleon. All those figures. We knew history. My father could tell you everything about the world and he had never left his home. He left Cuba, he came to Miami, and never, ever traveled anywhere. He had no desire. He accompanied me a couple of times to Colombia just to go with me but he really had no desire. He knew the whole world. He could tell you about every culture because he was an avid reader. Perhaps in these times when we cannot travel until augmented reality comes around where we’re going to be able to travel the world never leave our living room, then maybe we should just read with our children, play board games, play card games.

My family and I just recently started, since this thing began, playing Uno right after dinner. We play Uno for an hour and we have a lot of fun and we laugh. I tried to cheat, and I think it was a lot of fun getting caught and we just have a blast and we laugh. We hadn’t done that in a long time. Why? My daughter would come home from school, she was tired, she ate quickly, went to her room to do homework until late at night. My son would be playing golf all day long and the same thing, he would do school at night, and my wife and I would sit there and watch some TV. There’s no interaction there. When we moved now, the first thing we did, does not have a TV in our bedroom because we never had one until recently, and the truth of the matter is that we spent our time watching all this stupid news and watching all these stupid soap operas. Now we read. Now we play games. It has helped us to refocus. So, think about it.

I’ve told you before the story with my son. When I wanted to buy him anything in the world he wanted, he could have. He wanted nothing. It wasn’t until years later when he said to me, “Dad, the thing that I wanted from you was not all the money you could give me. It was your time. And you couldn’t give that to me, and it’s free.” That’s something. Knowing that really convicted me to leave my job and to retire and not to add more zeros to my account, to have enough to live a comfortable life, but at the same time not chase that dollar and that zero, and that zero, and that zero.

That chase is nothing but ruins our lives. Listen, I’m a capitalist. I’ve said that before. I enjoy working hard, succeeding, and I enjoy living in a nice home and driving a nice car. The truth of the matter is that, if all that is lost, I couldn’t care less. I lost over 50-60 million one time, went to prison without a dollar to buy a candy bar and I was free. I was free in prison looking at spending years and years there but I was free because the truth of the matter is that all this stuff that we gather in a maze, in selfishness, all they do is incarcerate us. Just more stuff to worry about.

Focus on the little things. Put family first. Look at the greatest wonders in the world. I tell people at the end when I speak, I tell people, “If you really want to understand the beauty of life, you must visit three places. You can go to a hospital and see that there’s nothing more precious than health. You can go to prison and see that there’s nothing more precious than freedom. You can go to a cemetery and see that there's nothing more precious than life.” Remember my friend, the ground you walk on today and tomorrow will be your ceiling one day.

God bless you. Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. If you’ve enjoyed it, again, subscribe to our channel, subscribe to our YouTube channel. Go to our website at jorgevaldesphd.com. Valdes with an ‘s’. Join our community, you’ll get a free copy of my latest book, Narco Mindset: Freedom Edition, and stay tuned with all the things that we’re doing. There’s great stuff coming up. There’s great things that I’m developing, great content, and again, all I’m doing, speaking from the bottom of my heart. You don’t have to agree. It’s free. Just enjoy it. like I tell people, listen, if the shoe fits, wear it, if not, just get another pair of shoes. God bless you. Have a wonderful day and we’ll see you again next week on the Narco Mindset podcast.

OUTRO:            We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.