The documentary Cocaine Cowboys chronicles the violence and death that the illegal drug trade brought into Miami in the 1970’s with first hand accounts and footage from new reports. The cruelty and business that infamous drug boss Griselda Blanco created is discussed.
The first hand accounts show the viewer the cruelty that the drug war caused and begins with the Dadeland Massacre in 1979. The ordered hit on men in a liquor store by Blanco brought the gruesome reality of the toll that drug trafficking was having on the local community. Griselda ordered hundreds of murders and her right hand man, Jorge Ayala, gave his first hand account of the inner workings or her business. One example of Griselda’s cruelty was when she ordered the murder of a family, including the young children. Ayala could not kill the children but he did murder their parents and admits to murdering more than 25 people for Griselda. She had no mercy and was completely out of control and for some reason the Columbian drug lords that supplied her and most of Miami with cocaine did not take her out.
We also see the positive effects of the drug business with the skyline in Miami rising funded partially by the drug money coming into Miami. The money was also put into clubs, banks, housing, and even boat and plane companies that were used to transport the cocaine to Miami and from Columbia. These drug traffickers made millions in just the import export business. They believed they were living the good life and could do anything they wanted. They never thought that one day it would all come crashing down. The violence of Griselda forced the government to intervene and put a stop to their glamorous life. What is interesting is that there is evidence that NSC staff supported using the drug money that they obtained from a sting operation to fund the Contras. The idea was rejected but it was there.
According to Coletta A. Youngers in Collateral Damage, the United States is “the world’s largest consumer of illicit drugs”. Cocaine Cowboys did not really go over the effects of the drug wars on the Columbian communities but Youngers states that the “Illicit drug abuse-a minor problem in Latin America a decade ago-has reached epidemic proportions..”. The United States love for illegal drugs has cost the Columbian people a life free of violence and danger that the drug lords have created.
This film shows the cruelty that Griselda Blanco’s drug regime, the both good and bad effects that the drug money had on the city of Miami, and the lives that were completely changed during this time.