Cocaine Cowboys

             Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary centered around the importation of illegal drugs from Colombia and the Medellin cartel into the United States through Miami. This importation funded much of the illegal activities of the Medellin family and also flooded the Miami economy with capital. Although much of the money ended up in the hands of the Colombians, a large majority of it stayed in the United States and ultimately trickled down and was reinvested into local businesses and land in and around the Miami area. This influx of capital resulted in a expansive skyline and countless new banks opening to hold this money. The excess money made from drugs was deposited in these banks and exceeded the average amount taken in annually by six hundred million dollars at one of the banks featured in the film. This is compared to a bank that took in between ten and twelve million dollars total the previous year. Seeing this kind of increase in just a single year clearly points to some sort of illegal activity that is bringing all this income to a certain area. 
               The infamous family behind this import business that exploded onto the scene in the 80’s was Ochoa Vazquez along with his brothers and Pablo Escobar. The reason Pablo Escobar and many of Ochoa’s close relatives were seemingly the head of the organization was because they were much more active in the enforcement and day to day activities and concerns of the organization. Leaving Vazquez behind the scenes while he called the shots and collected the money. One of the main reasons this was allowed was due to the families close ties to the community and overwhelming influence they possessed because of there reputation and the money they brought into the city of Medellin.
               The import business started in the 60’s with the importation of marijuana but really exploded in the late 70’s and 80’s with the arrival of cocaine. The demand for this product was unparalleled and rivaled every other commodity that was coming into Miami at the time. Obviously with this much money comes an increase in crime because of the inability to resolve conflicts through legal avenues. This inability to come to an agreeable ending resulted in the highest number of murders that Miami had ever seen. One of the main themes in the movie is that with that much money inevitably comes corruption. In the words of Jon Roberts, “Everyone has a price.” This seemed to be the case in regard to the Miami of the seventies. In the article, Contras, Cocaine, and covert operations, there is an excerpt from the Kerry Committee stating that “Senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.” Whether the corruption was at the street level with police officers or at the highest levels of the U.S. government these large sums of illicit funds proved to be too much of a temptation for anyone involved.
              This is clearly not just a problem that can be fixed overnight. The challenge is to restore morality and to elect officials who care about their communities as a whole and how they interact with one another and not those who can be bought with a check. Many people have settled into this way of life and accepted the fact that drugs will always make it into the country and will forever be a part of our society. People like to just look the other way and pretend that the problem does not exist. When in reality the problem stretches from poor to rich, through all walks of life, and from country to country. The damage has been done through years of looking the other way or sweeping the problem under the rug, which has led to a mild acceptance all the way to the highest levels. The dfficulty with this point of view is the problem is not going to go away and has already caused irreparable damage to countless families. The article on collateral damage talks about the harm this has done to the government and local communities. Youngers’ goes on to say that drug trafficking has “corrupted and further weakened local governments, judiciaries, and police forces and rends the social fabric, particularly in poor urban areas where both drug abuse and drug-related violence are rampant.” Whether the harm is simply financial, the ruined lives of the addicted, or the murder of an innocent young child, it all relates back to the drug trafficking industry.