Cocaine Cowboys

The 2006 film Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary reliving the quick progression of the drug trade in Miami throughout the 70′s and 80′s. The film features a few men greatly involved with the drug trafficking, along with other professionals. The whole process almost seems harmless at first because everyone had justified it so much saying how everyone was doing it, everyone was buying it. Lawyers, pilots, government officials, police officers, neighbors, etc… And at the beginning no one was getting hurt, in fact it was almost good because the money pouring in was great for the economy. The mortality rate for cocaine overdoses were extremely high in Miami however. Ricardo Vargas’ article “State, Esprit Mafioso, and Armed Conflict in Columbia” talks about the government officials being so corrupt that eventually the mafia “was used to dominate the public sphere.” The drugs were addicting, but the film also points out that the drug money, too,  was  addictive. One of the American men from the film, who was very high up in the operation, claimed that he didn’t even do drugs. He just got addicted to making the large amounts of money.

This film felt heavy. It showed how successful  the drug trade could make people. These drugs need people who will transport them to the buyers. The transporting system they had set up in the film showed to be very intricate. The men had systems set up to throw the police officers and the Drug Enforcement Agencies off. However the testimonies from the two former drug dealers revealed some of their secrets to keep them out of the trouble when someone in the middle of transport was caught. In some of the instances the transporter was able to pay of the police officer off with money made from the drugs. This seems like a sad down hill slope of what was to come.

This soon made for a very corrupt town. The citizens of Miami watched the drug trade turn from secret to deadly over the course of several years. When the Colombian’s began carrying out their “hits” they were assigned to it was hard for the police force to get involved because they were corrupt. A lot of the corrupt police force was brought into the light and soon all of America was shown the truth. Miami was forced for hire a lot of new police officers, but, as the film pointed out it was hard finding people who had been drug free. This problem became so large the President was forced to get involved and help clean up Miami. According to an article edited by Micheal Evans, War in Colombia, “the Clinton administration approved some $40.5 million in “emergency drawdown” assistance to Colombia in September 1996″. A lot of money came from America to help out the Colombian’s in order to help Miami.

So, in the last couple of films we have viewed, the theme of cycles have been dominant – This film has quit an interesting cycle as well. Colombia gave us the drugs, we gave Colombia money for them. Then when things got bad America had to give Colombia more money to help clean up the drug problem….