In Miami, in the 1980’s far from being the sunny playground that it is today. Miami had a haven for drug traffickers bring in ‘product’ from Columbia, though Central America into America. ‘Scarface’ starring Al Pacino gives you an idea of what happening at that time. Needless to say, in order to survive and thrive in the drug cartels you have to ruthless, cunning and be prepared to use any force in order maintain respect and order. One woman, not only managed to gain entry into drug business but climbed to the very top and even intimidate harden criminals with her ferocity. Her name was Griselda Blanco.
Born in Cartagena, Columbia on 15th February 1943, Blanco moved with her mother to Medellin aged three. It is almost inevitable that she would join the local cartel (Medellin, obviously named after the area). She was born into poverty and endured all horrors of abuse, resulting in her running away aged 14; There were some suggestions that her own mother forced her into prostitution. Sadly if you study the background of violent offenders. This kind of abuse is sadly common (though it does not excuse such behaviour), this combined with having to survive on the hard streets of Columbia as a young girl, may well have contributed to her wilful and fierce disposition.
In the mid 70’s Blanco and her husband moved to the US, here is where she began to build her drug empire. Of course you cannot create an illegal business without attracting the attention of the authorities, Blanco, plus approx thirty others, was indicted in what would have been on of the biggest Cocaine cases in New York. Blanco narrowly avoided arrested by fleeing back to Columbia.
Blanco did not stay away long, setting herself up in Miami in the late 70’s. She killed her way to the top of the Miami crime pyramid, for a woman to do this was and still is a tremendous feat. Even by Cartel standards, Blanco was blood thirsty. Murdering rivals, associates who displeased her even her own husbands where not safe from her homicidal rage. A noted incident was when she ordered the murder of a member of her own Cartel. Her hit man failed to kill her associate but did kill his small son by mistake. Now normally, such an error would be not be well received by any crime boss. Blanco on the other hand, was delighted to know the child was dead. Since it would further torment her associate. Her hit man was apparently appalled; it is important to note that a hardened criminal who has probably killed countless victims. Could be shaken by such remarks shows the icy heart of Blanco. At one point her drug empire was worth $80 millions, plus she was also involved in the ‘Cocaine Cowboy Wars’ which terrorised Miami from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. Yet again she attracted the attentions of the law and was arrested in 1985, facing charges of drug trafficking and several murders you would think that she would try to hand control to someone else if only for a short while. Not only did she continue to run her business from behind bars (she served ten years on drug charges), she escaped justice on the murder charges (technicalities). All of this demonstrates the power Blanco yielded.
Blanco was gunned down in Columbia in September 2012. No one will mourn the loss of a mother who delighted in the death of an innocent child, a major criminal who ordered the murders of hundreds of victims and who inflicted terror on anyone she pleased. Even though she did suffer in her early life, many people endured a childhood as miserable and dysfunctional as Blanco’s but never harm a soul. I do believe that she was hardened by her experiences but fundamentally she was hard wired to be unfeeling towards others.