cocaine cowboys

Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary released in 2006 about the drug trafficking that took place in Miami, Florida during the 1980s. Shown is Miami’s transformation from old person retirement spot to one of the most dangerous cities to live in, as told by a select few that were around to witness it and survived to talk about it. Interesting was the many different wars going on in such a small area, between the cartel and the police, the drug dealers and the innocent bystanders, and even amongst the dealers themselves, including the Cubans and the Colombians. After all of Cubans “undesirables” ended up being shipped off to Miami, it turned the whole state of things upside down, and they were simply unprepared to deal with the chaos that ensued.

A couple of  stories  told  involved the corruption of the police force. In one instance, they were said not only to have known about where drugs were going to be dropped off and moved, which happened to be right behind a police station, but they actually put the drugs into the trunks of their police cruisers and transported the cocaine for the cartel. Also mentioned was the fact that pretty much everyone had a price. if pulled over while transporting drugs, sure $100 bucks wouldn’t get you out of trouble. However, these drug dealers were dealing in hundreds of thousands of dollars everyday, and they could generally buy their way out of anything. But this was only the small scale discussed in the documentary. In The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations, discussed is the fact that these sorts of things were happening on a nationwide scale, the Medellin cartel was much bigger than just Miami. When the government knows things like this are going on, but also know they benefit from the money, they do not want to change it. If it is not going to be changed on the grand scale, it is difficult to worry about it on a smaller one.

Near the end of the documentary, shown is the Miami of today, the transformation of the skyline and other things built from the drug  money confiscated when the cartel fell. Discussed is the idea of whether the Miami of today would be around if it had not have been through the cocaine cowboy era, and of course that even if it would not be, the price paid was too high. While efforts are still being made to try and stop the drug trafficking coming into the United states from Andean countries, “the long-term consequences […]may be even more detrimental than drug trafficking itself to prospects for democratic consolidation and regional stability,” as discussed in Youngers’ Collateral Damage (Youngers 127).  The money made by producing and trafficking cocaine is so high that without it, like the city of Miami, the countries that flourish from making it would not be able to maintain without it. In the documentary, many places went out of business after the drug money was gone, however, the city was able to turn itself around. In countries like Bolivia and Colombia, would they be able to survive if the drug business was gone?