Cocaine Cowboys

Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary about the war on drugs that stemmed from Columbia and blew up like a firework in the United States, particularly Miami, FL. The documentary has many different perspectives encompassed into it: that of police officers, convicted criminals in the drug trade who were both incarcerated and on parole and news reporters who witnessed the cocaine wars during their height. It was interesting to see the truth come out of how extensive the cocaine trade actually was during this time.

I found it most surprising how involved the US government was (secretly) and was not (publically). The readings say that Oliver North of the National Security Council in the US was repeatedly informed of the illegal cocaine trades that were going on, yet failed to take action. Two DEA agents later spoke out of North’s corruption and bribes that he wanted to take, specifically $1.5 million in Cartel bribe money. North’s corruption did not stop there even though he was extremely high ranked in the US government. His notebook revealed that he was in close contact with Noriega of Panama who was known to accept loitered money from the cocaine traders.

North was not the only corruption seen in the government. Cocaine Cowboys gave statistics that the entire Miami Dade PD class one year were all eventually killed, died or arrested due to drug related crimes. The entire city could not find anyone who wanted to be a police officer that hadn’t done drugs in the last 10 or 5 years. They had to make the rule ‘if your not on drugs right now then you can apply.’ Even car dealers where the cocaine traders bought millions of dollars worth of cars turned their heads to the people who paid full in cash and with Panamanian checks.

Youngers article speaks of collateral damage of the cocaine wars in the world. He says that it was “an enhanced role for local military and intelligence forces in domestic operations that lack sufficient mechanisms for civilian control and accountability.” So when the government had sectors that were not entirely corrupted, they did in fact try and help this cocaine problem yet could not control he people who partook in this drug use. Cocaine Cowboys noted that it was not the bums on the street that were first using cocaine, it was the rich doctors and lawyers who had the money to pay. Eventually the drug became more mainstream and middle class people began using and suddenly it spread to everyone who wanted some.

The drug wars in Miami, FL died down after there were too many bloodbaths and arrests to count. Police took control of the situation not only on a local level but on a nation wide scale as the drugs kept being illegally smuggled and spread throughout the US. Today we see the city skyline of Miami and think how beautiful it is. If you know the history of the city, particularly from the stance of this documentary, you would know that the skyline shines with millions of dollars of cocaine.