So Long, and Thanks for All the Cocaine
Griselda Blanco (aka La Madrina, the Godmother, the Black Widow, Cocaine Cowgirl, Queenpin) waskilled outside a butcher shop in Medellín, Colombia at 3 PM Monday when two men on a motorcycle fired two shots into her head with a revolver. Despite the location, this was unlikely a beef about beef (zing!), and probably had more to do with the scores of people she ruthlessly murdered throughout the 70s and 80s. Yes, in addition to smuggling tons of cocaine from Colombia into the United States and amassing a personal fortune that would make dot com boomers blush, she is allegedly responsible for ordering upwards of 200 homicides in Colombia, Florida, New York, and California.
Miami-Dade County Police victim list of Griselda Blanco’s organization
For decades, law enforcement and the media have credited Blanco with pioneering the undeniably badass motorcycle assassin technique in Colombia and importing it to South Florida, where it was used liberally. Police say she is single-handedly to blame for Miami devolving into the homicide capital of America in the 1980s.
Her sinister exploits were memorialized in two documentaries I directed, Cocaine Cowboys (2006) andCocaine Cowboys II: Hustling with the Godmother (2008). (You can buy them both by clicking on those links, btw. No pressure.)
Born in the poverty-stricken Medellín mountains—like her childhood friend Pablo Escobar—she grew up during La Violencia, Colombia’s vicious civil war, and didn’t waste any time breaking into the murder business. As legend has it, at age 11 she kidnapped a young boy for ransom. When his wealthy valley parents failed to pay, she killed him.
Later in life, years of prostitution and counterfeiting preceded a series of, shall we say, failed marriages. Her ‘Black Widow’ sobriquet was earned by murdering (or ordering the murder of) multiple husbands. It was her relationship with these men, her notorious temper, and her early connection to Escobar that gave her an advantage in the otherwise male-dominated cocaine trade.
Miami News, June 21, 1972
Miami News, June 30, 1973
Blanco used her feminine insight to her advantage. She opened a women’s underwear factory in Colombia that manufactured undergarments with secret compartments so that mules could smuggle cocaine into the US as passengers on commercial airlines.
Miami News, June 4, 1976
By the mid-1970s she’d established herself in Queens, New York as a significant smuggler. She was allegedly behind the 1976 scheme to transport at least 6 kilos of cocaine to Miami aboard the Tall Ship Gloria, sent by the Colombian government to commemorate America’s Bicentennial in a race to New York Harbor. An apt metaphor for the Colombian cocaine invasion that befell America in the decade to follow.
The Who - Heatwave (“Les Mods”, 1965) - Martha & The Vandellas Cover
Photo with 1 note
Life is like a fugazi song. (Taken with Instagram at Superior Court Hall of Justice)
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