cocaine cowboys

week 10 blog
The cocaine industry in the United States began in the 1970s, and was a result of the drug trafficking that had begun involving marijuana. In the beginning cocaine was not brought into the United States in large quantity, however it quickly gained popularity and the trafficking of cocaine grew to extreme rates. The cocaine came from Latin America, and specifically Columbia. There was a specific path that the cocaine followed after being produced in these Columbian farms. For those producing the cocaine, it was just a way to make a living and represented a very different value than it did for those selling and buying it. The cocaine was transported to Cuba after production, and Cuba seemed to be the intermediate between Columbia and the United States. From there the cocaine was smuggled into the United States around Miami. People in this industry soon realized the increased monetary value from cutting out Cuba, and getting involved in the transportation aspect of cocaine. During this time the restrictions on drug smuggling were extremely relaxed, and it took years before the government and police force were able to become an actual threat to the drug trade. The film, Cocaine Cowboys, depicts the transformation the cocaine industry had during the 1970s and 1980s. In the early years of cocaine importation into their was little violence, and money was flowing everywhere in Miami. Miami banks had excess cash of up to 600 million dollars, and it became increasingly obvious this was due to the drug trade. Jon Roberts makes the comment in the film, “everyone had their price, with few exceptions”. Throughout the latter part of the 1970s the United States saw an increase in violence in Miami directly revolved to the drug industry. It has corrupted and further weakened local governments, judiciaries, and police forces and rends the social fabric” (Coletta 126). The role that Griselda Blanco played in the drug business significantly increased the violence in Miami. She was nicknamed the “Miami Godmother” and was a significant power figure and violent homicidal maniac for this industry, and was feared by many in the industry. When she was arrested, estimates were that she had killed around two hundred people. The drug industry in Miami was  major part of the economy and activity that occurred in Miami throughout later part of this century. There were more people involved than could have been imagined. It was an international business that involved many Latin American countries especially Columbia and Cuba. However this business was not limited to these countries. the Panamanian leader manuel Noriega collaborated with Columbian drug traffickers. In an article published in the New York Times, reporter Seymore Hersh said of Noriega, “is extensively involved in illicit money laundering and drug activities”. This was an international business, however when the U.S. government began to really crack down on the traffic within its borders. As the cocaine business began to be shut down, the economy was hit extremely hard and banks, night clubs, jewelry shops, and many other merchandise stores were forced to close. While the drug traffic had repercussions on the economy, it also put Miami on the map in many ways, which allowed its economy to be revitalized after the cocaine industry was shut down.