La Virgen de los Sicaros

Directed by Barbet Schroeder La Virgen de los Sicaros is a story about Fernando Vallejo’s return to Medellin after a thirty year absence.  Vallejo’s homecoming is bittersweet.  His parents are dead; and the city is in distress due to warfare between rival gangs, poverty, corrupt rulers and drugs.  The Medellin cartel’s role in the city is having  a strong presence in the city by spreading its terror among the citizens.  Looking for love Vallejo will meet Alexis in a brothel.  Alexis is a young sixteen year old boy from a very poor neighborhood, who is deeply involved in the cartel as a murder.  Alexis will expose Vallejo to hatred, useless killings, and even his own murder by a rival gang.   Fernando lost with grief, thinks that he sees Alexis on the streets, but it is Wilmar another young assassin, who unbeknownst to Fernando is Alexis’s killer.  Fernando befriends him, and they become lovers.  Fernando will discover Wilmar’s secret and will ask god to help him kill Wilmar.   Wilmar wakes up right before Fernando is going to kill him.  Fernando asks Wilmar why he murdered Alexis, and it was because Alexis killed his brother.  Fernando can not go through with the assassination; however Wilmar will be murdered by a hit man the next day. And Vallejo is alone once again.

 Ricardo Vargas’s article State, Esprit Mafioso, and Armed Conflict in Columbia discuses how the “spirit Mafioso” developed from the ancient customs of powerful Sicilian noblemen; who dominated Sicily and were used to using power and violence to protect their own interests. The mafia is a medieval response, which arose from the belief that an individual can be guaranteed protection and integrity of their property and person through their own worth and influence, which are independent of the actions of the law or authorities.  Vargas suggests that the esprit Mafioso in order to achieve success, a person must have valor to oppose authority which includes the law if necessary, or at least support those who can do so, without suffering formal legal consequences.    The movie depicts the streets of Columbia as being a killing zone for rival gangs.  The legal system was gone and killings became part of the norm.  Vargas also discusses the relationship between the mafia and the economy.  In Columbia drug trafficking was very beneficial to the rural poor.  Most Colombians condemn drug trafficking, but when a drug trafficker supports the community, he is somewhat accepted.  The large profits gained from the selling of drugs give way to employment and income opportunities that were not available through government programs.  But it came with a price, the loss of social order. 

 The Lady of the Assassins is a work that shows the cruel reality of the situation in Medellin.  Hylton’s Evil Hour in Columbia describes a state of “la violencia” that began in 1946.  It resulted from the weakness of the central state and disputes over property rights.  For over ten years Columbia would be involved in a large violent uprising that would eventually give way to counter rebellions, “Urban violence was dizzyingly plural” according to Hylton. And as the movie portrayed, Vallejo’s return to Medellin illustrated the common occurrences of corruption, crime and murder that involved all classes and the political system of Columbia.