La Virgin de Los Sicaros- Colombian Wars

This week, in class, we watched a film that focused on two very different men and their encounters with the local mafia. This movie was typical of the theme that has seemingly been in the majority of the movies that we have watched this semester, the absence of order and prevalence of violence within Latin America. In La Virgen de Los Sicaros, the absence of government led to drug wars between rival gangs and the deaths of many young latinos. Matard-Bonucci came up with a hypothesis to explain the rise of mafia power in regions, and his hypothesis helps to explain the problem that has been recurring throughout our films. Matard-Bonucci believes there are four reasons for the rise of mafia power. Bonucci believes that mafia power can be explained by the lack of government, ” the nation-state has not established a firm presence in certain regions and local forces contest an exclusionary power,”(Vargas, 107). Bonucci hit the nail right on the head becuase there was little to no government presence in La Virgin de Los Sicaros. The young men in the movie, Alexis and Wilmar, seemingly started war on the streets without any reprocussions from law enforcement. When Alexis was able to kill two men on the train and then escape imprisonment, the hypothesis of Bonucci was realised. The government of Colombia was unable to, “control territory and exercise a monopoly of force in both the city and the government,” (Vargas,107). The inability of the government and police force to exercise authority over all of the Colombian territory led to violence between local mafias.
The movie showed the effects of the mafia wars throughout Colombia with numerous murders occuring throughout the film. Hylton writes, ” Political and criminal violence fed into one another, and homicide became the leading cause of death among males,” (Hylton, 65). As seen in this weeks movie and other movies we have watched, no government control has left many peoples under the thumb of corruption. These peoples, usually of the lower class like the young men in our movie, are left to a life of violence and drugs in hopes of providing for themselves or surviving. Vargas continues to promote the need for governmental influence in Latin America, “The lack of the legitimate institutions to resolve conflicts and the fact that many of these involved in the drug trade came from lower-class sectors previously denied access to the region’s sources of wealth le to an unprecedented wave of violence,” (Vargas, 113). This is evident in the movie as the two young lovers,Alexis and Wilmar, grasp on to the older gentleman who offers them a place to stay, clothes, and much more. The older gentleman soon realizes that the violence that the lower class is subjected to is an unending cycle of death. In one instance, a man kills another man in an attempted robbery, but is later killed in the movie himself. This cycle is also evident when Wilmar kills Alexis but he is soon killed before he can escape the cycle. The underpriviledged classes are under the sway of the mafia and their drug rings. Once the young men find themselves inside the mafia ring, escaping death becomes a near impossibility.