Cocaine Cowboys

 <br /><div class="MsoNormal">The explosion of the illicit cocaine trafficking in the late 1970’s and 80’s transformed the city of Miami into a burgeoning realm of wealth and power, but at what price?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As the central of trade for the “fastest growing and most profitable industry in the world” (Youngers 129) the city drew the attention of violent drug lords such as those of the Medellin cartel.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The 2006 Billy Corben documentary <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Cocaine Cowboys</i> illuminates the extravagant and violent lives of these traffickers and collaborators, showing the innovation, thrills, wealth and danger of the industry and its effects on a once quiet, almost passé city.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Before the boom of the drug trade, Miami was, in general, a fairly open playing field. Being a tourist and retirement town, there was little need for law enforcement and the land area was teeming with unseen areas conducive to moving contraband into the country. However, before the 1960’s, cocaine wasn’t as popular a product in the US. Traffickers mainly moved marijuana and heroine.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Small amounts of the product was shipped into the country starting with a small case in 1939 and later trending with multiple incidents of cocaine smuggling in the late 1940’s-50’s. Officials began to note slowly increasing amounts of cocaine being moved into the US. In short order, demand far outgrew any smaller supply that was trickling into the country (Gootenberg 138-140). By the 1970’s use of the drug exploded to the point where it wasn’t uncommon to see users in the open in bathrooms and clubs.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>And, as seen with Jon Roberts in the film, as the user clientele began to expand from the elite to the blue collar, distributors outgrew their smaller time Cuban suppliers and turned to the more powerful, but also more violent sources of obtaining cocaine, such as the Medellin drug lords we encounter in <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Cocaine Cowboys.</i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Thus begins the extravagant life of the drug industry in Miami. Opportunities for anyone willing to turn an eye or an ear meant an extreme amount of money was dumped into the city’s economy. Businesses flourished by catering to the industry and the additional income led to many of the city’s prosperous developments. However, as the industry grew, so did rivalry and competition, which brought out the “best” in the cartels’ most violent. The absolutely horrendous ministrations of those such as Griselda Blanco, most notably the broad daylight shooting of two men in a public mall and the murder of a young boy, drew enough government attention to finally round up the high profile players of the industry. While the enforcement cracked down on the trade in the Miami area, the government still falters of stopping the issue at the source. The “Andean Initiative” and the “Andean Regional Initiative” both aimed to counteract drug production by filtering aid money toward Andean local security efforts and making drug production dangerous and expensive. Unfortunately, despite throwing billions of dollars at the issue, supply and prices of drugs within the US have remained generally low, and all the initiatives have succeeded in is causing more hardship for the Andean people (Youngers 131).</div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>