In La virgen de los sicaros, the audience sees a story of an older author, Fernando, who has come back to Medellin to spend his last days. He falls in love with Alexis, a younger man involved in street violence and guerrilla warfare, who represents what Medellin has become. Fernando is shocked by the current state of Medellin, where people are gunned down on the streets over car keys and drugs and trite disputes. He initially is shocked every time he sees someone killed over such things, but later in the film he yells at a woman for her distress over a killing indicating that he has now become desensitized to it himself. In the film there never seems to be any sort of police involvement in this guerrilla warfare, it is more of every citizen out for himself. According to Guerrillas, Drugs and Human Rights in U.S.-Colombia Policy, 1988-2002, the CIA indicated that they believed the Colombian government was not going after these paramilitary style groups. This film is indicative of such a suggestion, showing the viewer that oftentimes fatal violence would be carried out and those around sat in silence, with no impending chance of police or government intervening. It also seems that the drug trade and civil war are so deeply intertwined that it would have been hard for the U.S. government to really differentiate the two when sending aid to combat the drug war in Colombia (Guerrillas, Drugs and Human Rights in U.S.-Colombia Policy, 1988-2002). Alas, the United States’ involvement may only be “contributing to an intensification of conflict” (Vargas, 125).
It seemed through the film that urban violence had just become a way of life for many in Medellin. According to Hylton, “urban violence was dizzyingly plural” (75). Like previously stated, violent attacks were not limited to drug dealers, innocent bystanders or anyone who mouthed off to someone with a gun was a possible victim of such violent tendencies. As Hylton indicates, there was also a sort of “social cleansing” going on in Colombia in the 80s. Homosexuals, peace advocates, and homeless were also subject to guerrilla warfare.
Based on the history of Colombia in the past century, it appears that Colombia is a country which is used to violent reactions and constant warfare (Hylton). In the 80s, the guerrilla warfare moved more towards the urban environment (Vargas, 109-110). Maybe this is why Fernando is so unaccustomed to such a violent way of life upon his return to Medellin. While he was gone, perhaps is when the drug traffickers and gang members overtook his city, changing it for the worse. It is now a lifestyle in which those armed with guns are now used to settling scores and acting on vengeance rule the city (Vargas, 123). This is how Fernando’s new love, Alexis behaves. After their time spent together, Alexis explains to the older man how the current Medellin life now calls for such behavior. Fernando adapts to such beliefs by the end of the movie, almost acting out of vengeance himself when he realizes his new boyfriend, Wilmar, is the one who gunned down his old love, Alexis. He finds out Wilmar killed Alexis because Alexis killed his brother. It is nothing but a sick cycle of violence. Such a situation proves that many social groups, or in this case Wilmar, only use violence as a means to further their own interests, not a common vision (Vargas, 122).