Cocaine Cowboys

The film Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary that focuses on Miami in the 1970s-1980s and how the drug trade, begining with Marijuana and moving to Cocaine effected the city and many of its inhabitants.  The movie covers how the drug trade began for the characters in Cocaine Cowboys which was that Roberts and Munday started smuggling drugs into Miami from Colombia with help from the Mendellin Cartel.  One amusing thing about this business practice was that there was not much police intervention for several years which allowed the dealers to earn millions, possibly billions, of dollars without too many problems from the authorities.  Once Griselda Blanco became involved in the Miami Cocaine trade things would change.  There became more murders every year in Miami and this would eventually bring more advanced, and dedicated police organizations to Florida to stop the Drug Trade.

In Colleta Youngers article Collateral Damage one of the first things that is mentioned is that the United States war on drugs has made the U.S. has formed ”alliances with militaries that deplorable human rights records. In Bolivia, U.S. drug policy pits coca farmers against the Bolivian police and army, generating conflict, violence and human rights abuses.” (Younger 127)  Essentially the U.S. was willing to promote as much violence in Latin America as was needed to try and keep Cocaine, and the violence associated with the “Cocaine War”, In Latin America and out of Miami by any means necessary.  The “War on Drugs” was not as much about stopping drug trafficing and violence  as it was about stopping drug trafficing and violence from being in America, but it was ok if it was in Colombia, Peru or Bolivia.  Another Interesting point that Youngers makes is that since the “War on Drugs” began that cartels, coca-farmers and trafficing routes have “proliferated” in Latin American countries.  This is very similar to what was seen in Cocaine Cowboys when the Cocaine trade in Miami was at its peak.  The economy of Miami thrived while the Cocaine capital of America was Miami, car dealers were selling more vehicles, property was built and owned by drug dealers and Jon Roberts said he spent lavish amounts of money at restraunts, bars and other goods.  Once the dealers that were seen in the film were busted the economy took a downturn.

The files on if the CIA sold Cocaine in the 1980s show how drug money was used to fund Contras and, in some cases, allowed Cocaine to be sold in the U.S. to gain money for overseas use in “Black Operations.”  The documents in this compilation show that the United States knew of various people who had trafficed drugs but still worked with them for different reasons.  One of the most telling sections of the articles involved a proposal by Manuel Noreiga (who the U.S. knew was involved with extensive drug trafficing) which said “If U.S. officials can ‘help clean up his [Noreiga’s] image’ and life the ban on arms sales to the Panamanian Defense Force, Noreiga will ‘take care of the Sandista leadership for us.’ “

Cocaine Cowboys showed how Cocaine trafficing came to be such a big part of Miami begjning in the 1970s and through the Article by Younger and the CIA files it is clear why the U.S. did not try to stop the trafficing until it became overly violent.  The U.S. was proffiting from this, either in currency or in favors against countries and leaders that were seen as unfavorable in America.  The hypocrisy that is/was the “War on Drugs” can be clearly seen when combining the film and the articles.