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|Cocaine Cowboys is a raw look into the first drug City; Miami. From the early 1970s through the 1980s Cocaine Cowboys traces the rise of the drug kingpin in Miami by interviews of the tranporters, the hitmen, and everyone in between. This documentary is the real life Scarface. The movie documents the Marielito boat lift of 1981 when Fidel Castro sent Miami all of Cuba’s undesireables that contributed to the drug traficking with the Columbians who had the city on lock. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the role of Colombian drug god mother Griselda Blanco, who was responsible for starting the drug wars in Miami and who has been linked to over 200 murders. Griselda Blanco, the 63 year-old (in 2006) woman known as “The Godmother” of a Colombia cocaine cartel. She had been serving time in the U.S. for cocaine trafficking. In 1998 she was sentenced to three concurrent 20-year sentences after pleading no contest to second degree murder charges but she was later released. Find out how.
Blanco is described by authorities as a charter member of the “cocaine cowboys” who engaged in drug trafficking, contract killings, and gangland shootouts in the 1980s in Dade County. Blanco’s lawyer said that, “There are no charges pending against her (in Colombia ), so certainly she would be free to live her life in Colombia .” Find out what happend to her sons and what eventually happened to Ms. Blanco.
Back in the ’60s Miami was known as “”God’s Waiting Room”" on account of its large population of retirees, but when the cocaine trade moved in everything changed. Told by the people who put the vice in Miami Vice, this stylized, high-energy film track the city’s evolution. On a sleepy summer day in 1979, two men driving a party supplies truck got out at the Crown Liquors store in Miami’s Dadeland Mall and sprayed the place with bullets. The papers dubbed the gun-wielding Colombians the “”cocaine cowboys,”" and the title stuck. Within a few years, the once washed-up vacation destination had become the most dangerous city in America. Filmmaker Billy Corben chronicles the cocaine escapades of the ’70s and ’80s through interviews with key players including transplanted New Yorker Jon Roberts, who distributed over $2 billion worth of cocaine for Mickey Munday, an ingenious smuggler in the Medellín Cartel who’s reputed to have transported over 10 tons of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. in his lifetime. In addition to interviewing notorious criminals like Roberts and Jorge “”Rivi”" Alaya, a hit man for Griselda Blanco (a.k.a. the “”Cocaine Godmother”"), Corben consults the other side of the law. The film is loaded with archival news footage as well as conversations with DEA agents and crime writers. Also featured is a score by Jan Hammer, composer of the Miami Vice score. Almost as addictive as the drug itself, Cocaine Cowboys is a fast-paced and shocking documentary that would be hard to believe if it wasn’t true. Perhaps more surprising than the murders and corruption is the realization that one of today’s most vibrant cities was built with blood money.
– Ann Lewinson
Running Time: 120 minutes
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Billy Corben
Screenwriter: Billy Corben