La virgen de los sicaros (2000) is a good depiction of real life in Colombia during a chaotic time of the drug cartel warfare involving violence and murder. In this film, Fernando returns to his hometown of Medellín where he meets his new fling, Alexis. He comes to find out that Alexis is a trigger-happy murder and gang member. Alexis has luckily escaped death even after all his murders, but fate finally catches up to him. He is eventually gunned down by other gang members. Fernando then finds a young man who remarkably resembles his past love, Alexis. Wilmar takes the place of Alexis in Fernando’s life and finds out the truth behind Alexis’ murder. The two leave town, but the ending is no so happy when Wilmar is also murdered.
The drug war in Colombia has been a problem involving the US for many years. As seen in the film, the drug cartels were out for blood. The problem isn’t only taking control of the drug cartel, but tackling the guerillas involved with the drug cartel issue. Due to all the violence like in the film, the drug war was at the forefront of social and political issues. In an article from the National Security Archive database entitled War in Colombia. Guerrillas, Drugs and Human Rights in U.S.-Colombia Policy, 1988-2002. Volume II states that,
This DIA report provides a chart describing what is thought to be a close association between narcotics-related facilities and the presence of guerrilla fronts in Colombia. The nature of the relationship is so integrated, the report asserts, “it is not possible to differentiate exactly which the Army units are attacking.” Because of this ambiguity, the Army “has been carrying out simultaneous operations against the two threats” since 1982. The Colombian military, the author suggests, argues for U.S. counternarcotics assistance on the presumption that “the narco guerrilla relationship makes it impossible to combat narcos without fighting the guerrillas at the same time.”
It is clear that the US Government was fully aware of the Colombia drug war, especially becomes it affects the US directly. However, it was unclear if Colombia wanted to really attack the problem or if they were too afraid because of the violence they would face. The article goes on to say that,
“But U.S. intelligence reports and other declassified documents present a somewhat inconsistent and often contradictory account of the actual relationship between drug traffickers and guerrilla groups in Colombia, perhaps reflecting their own organizational biases. But these differing reports may also be indicative of the fact that insurgents are involved at different levels of the process and to different degrees depending on which guerrilla front is involved.”
Reading the article State, Esprit Mafioso, and Armed Conflict in Colombia, by Ricardo Vargas, in Burt and Mauceri, eds., Politics in the Andes, 107-126. It seems that at lease one semi-positive outcome came from the drug war in Colombia. ”The large profits generated by the global trade in drugs have clearly contributed to a new regional economic dynamic, creating employment and income without the need for government-directed development” (Vargas, Conflict in Colombia, 123). Furthermore, the article goes on to state that ”the drug economy created huge profits for individuals, but with a loss of social order and personal risk” (Vargas, Conflict in Colombia, 123). This article describes the life that Alexis and Wilmar lived while as drug cartel gang members. These two lived with no personal responsibilities except to devoting the majority of their life to drugs and violence. This allowed them to provide an income and lifestyle that many in Colombia could relate to whether they approved of it or not.
In the film that Fernando extremely enjoyed his relationships with Alexis and Wilmar because of their scandalous lifestyles involving crime and violence. Was Fernando more interested in these two because of the physical relationship that developed or did he enjoy living the kind of unpredictable and extreme lifestyle? Maybe it was a combination of everything? Fernando found what he was looking for when he returned to his hometown that ultimately ended with tragically.