La Virgen de los Sicarios

La virgen de los sicaros is a film depicting the life of one gay man and two of his young lovers, who’s lives are intertwined with the violence and destitution that envelops Columbia.  The film displays murder and death as an everyday occurrence in Colombia, showing people as being unfazed by murders in the street, merely stepping over or driving around the bodies several times ( Children go as far to yell, “Let see the stiff!” in the streets after one particular murder). 

In the film, the young boys are both gang members, though Alexis has been “marked” by his old gang.  The violence these children are subjected to continues on and on, with Alexis being the killer of Fernando’s new lover’s brother, and so on.  Hylton suggests that the violence was not restricted to just simple murder, but went as far as “mutilation of ears, fingers, penises and breasts,” (44) in the 50’s and before.  Practices like this only generated an air of violence which are inescapable by the youth of the Colombian nation.  In addition, without the infrastructure to support these misguided and abandoned youths, the circle of violence will continue, especially in light of Paramilitary operations and corruption.  Though the US was aware of Colombia’s “lack of effort” in going after criminals and gangs such as Alexis and the paramilitary groups: “CIA and other intelligence reports from the late 1990s on the notorious Colombian paramilitaries suggested that the Colombian government lacked the will to go after these groups” (War in Columbia Summary Page). 

Analyzing such a violent culture shows the issue lies with the lack of Governmental control, in addition to continued US involvement in Columbian politics and counter-insurgency campaigns, in addition to the misappropriation of ant-trafficking funds for paramilitary actions.  Vargas depicts the first states of Paramilitary control in Colombia: 

“During the initial states of the paramilitaries presence, there was a wave of selective assassinations of community leaders, church activists and in general anyone thought to have links with the guerrillas.   At the same time, the paramilitaries attempted to systematically displace the guerrillas’ control of the commerce in coca paste and threatened shop owners in urban areas who refused to pay for the “protection” offered…”. (Vargas 118).

This shows the inefficiency of government control over the military, which appears corrupt and ill-led, resorting to unnecessary violence for personal gain (most evident in charging for “protection”) as well as violence resulting in the deaths of innocent people.  Fighting according to this ideology causes a party line to be formed, forcing the people of Colombia to either be with or against the paramilitaries providing “protection” while using US funds to help rid the country of its number one export: drugs and the drug trade; or the gangs of which these paramilitaries were in search of.  There is also evidence that the US was aware of Paramilitary groups, of which they helped to fund, working in leauge with the drug traffickers in Colombia:

“This report from the CIA’s Counternarcotics Center examines the relationship between narcotics traffickers and guerrilla groups in Colombia and Peru and assesses the implications of this relationship for U.S.-funded counterdrug programs in the region.(32)  The report finds that guerrillas are indeed associated with the Andean drug trade, but nevertheless warns that the use by Andean security forces of counterdrug aid for counterinsurgency purposes would not produce a measurable result against trafficking.” (Document 24)

Despite the US’s suspicions, (“The CIA is skeptical of Andean government claims that “funding counterinsurgency operations with counternarcotics aid would lead to major gains against traffickers.”  Moreover, the CIA believes that “officials in Lima and Bogotá, if given antidrug aid for counterinsurgency purposes, would turn it to pure antiguerrilla operations with little payoff against trafficking.”)(Document 24) the US continues funding in hopes of stopping the drug trade, With Dennis Hastert even suggesting they “ignore human rights” conditions to gain U.S Aid (War in Columbia).