Cocaine Cowboys

Cocaine Cowboys illustrates the back story of Miami’s foundations, the explosion of cocaine, and the method of transporting illegal drugs during the 1980s. This process was a well-formulated mathematical process that “consolidated itself into more systematic growing processing, and smuggling circuits” (Gootenberg 135), and did not flinch at the sight of jail or death. In fact, Cocaine Cowboys seemed to glorify the lifestyles of these drug lords showing their massive amounts of wealth and power in Miami; they seemed invincible. The drug ““traffickers have adapted quickly to drug control strategies, developing new methods and routes to circumvent detection” (Youngers 128).Smuggling drugs successfully meant huge benefits for the dealers and sellers. The addictive qualities in cocaine far outweigh those in marijuana which made it such a valuable commodity.

The government and police force were conveniently blind to the drug war surrounding them because they “ha[d] forged unholy alliances with militaries that have deplorable human rights” (Youngers 127). Oliver North, “National Security Council aide who helped run the contra war and other Reagan administration covert operations” (National Security Archive) wrote about these “humanitarian efforts” on the U.S.’ part, but was clearly revealing the financial support that was given to major traffickers. Government lingo covered up the actuality of the situation. Further journal entries and recovered e-mails reveal the disgusting disguise of the government in spending tax payers’ money to essentially assist and support the contra cause/leaders.

Miami morphed overnight from another rinky-dink vacation town to an extravagant city with the latest architecture, technology, and nightlife. Although structural advances were made in Miami due to the influx of money in the hands of the politically and economically powerful, hundreds of lives were lost each year because of Cocaine Wars. Youngers de-idolizes the drug war lifestyle and explains that it “breeds criminality, exacerbates political violence, and hence greatly increases problems of citizen security” (126).

Stomping out the influx of cocaine along with its effects seemed impossible because “coca production [is like a balloon]: squeezing it in one area merely causes it to pop up somewhere else” (128). U.S. control over Latin American/United States drug trafficking is still a debate and concern today, but there are  greater surveillance methods involved (although, it is not completely possible to eliminate/watch the production of illegal drugs seeing as many of them are horticulture products). The Clinton and Bush administrations made large investments to observe and eliminate drug production. At Fort Benning, GA, Latin American officers can attend an “eleven-week course that provides instruction in planning, leading, and executing drug-interdiction operations, including infiltration and surveillance techniques, patrolling, and demolition and close-quarters combat” (131). Even though the U.S. is still “losing this war” against drugs, the government is aware and willing to recognize the dangers of the drug economy… maybe?