10.03.2012

The Godmother of Miami : Griselda Blanco.


Ok, before you finish scratching your heads thinking "why is Angela blogging about a drug overlord from the 70's???" let me tell all of you a little known fact about myself : I love all that film mystique that was created around the mob/cocaine culture of the 70's and 80's by such movies as Casino, Scarface and Goodfellas. Besides being deliciously unforgiving in their portrayals of the real violence and mob culture of the time, they never stray into gratuitous violence for violence's sake. All of it is consequential, like "this is what happens to you when you don't play by the rules." I imagine this is what living in that time in that world must have really been like.
Chicas, champagne, cash.

Which brings me to today's subject : Griselda Blanco. I first came to know of her from watching the documentaries "Cocaine Cowboys" which talk of the drug wars that exploded in Miami in the 80's. The police force at the time had never had to deal with such an explosion of drugs and subsequent violence : up until then such accounts of shootings in broad daylight, machine gun use against crowds of innocent people and assassinations in shopping malls and banks were things they read about happened in other countries, not the United States.

Griselda Blanco was the Godmother of Cocaine. She came from Medellín with nothing, migrating first to NYC and after having to go back to Colombia escaping drug charges, she came back to Miami in the late 70's. She became one of the high cocaine kingpins in the 80's, running the Florida Medellín Cartel and "was involved in much of the drug-related violence known as the Cocaine Cowboy Wars that plagued Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when cocaine supplanted marijuana." Bringing in 8 million a month dealing cocaine was no joke; so of course she kept her claws on the top by killing off anyone that stood in her way, using a selected group of hired assassins she called her "lieutenants". More than 200 hits were masterminded by her and carried out by her lieutenants during the 80's. Of course, vengeance was to be expected from rival cartels, and multiple assassination attempts were made on her life in 1984. She then moved to California, where she was arrested and tried for three murders. She kept running her cartel from jail; and in 2004 the cases against her failed due to technicalities and she was deported back to Colombia, where she dissappeared into obscurity.



Apparent obscurity, because she continued to quietly live in Medellin until September 3, 2012, when she was assassinated in front of a butcher shop by two gunmen on a motorcycle. She was buried in the same cemetery where the Escobar brothers are interred.
Ok, so back to the original question : why blog about her? Besides finding it fascinating that she's the only woman to be credited or known to have been a drug kingpin of a cartel, oddly enough, no movies or movies inspired about her life have been made. Sure, parts of her story has been used as the inspiration for alot of drug cartel movies ("Scarface" is widely credited as having used some parts of her story for the depiction of Tony Montana) but none have been made about her. Could it be because Hollywood honchos believe that a female-run drug cartel movie would not have as much audience pull as a male-run one? I'd like to think that the time has come to show her story. 




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