The female drug barons of Latin America

Although Blanco is shown leading a lavish lifestyle, the series focuses on the brutality of the narcotics underworld. It’s a story about the dangers of greed, power and operating in abject criminality. In the end, there are no winners. As with others in the Narcos universe and beyond, Blanco’s life is a parable of what happens to most people who get involved in the drug trade, with either long prison sentences or violent deaths.

Blanco employed hitmen known as Pistoleros to carry out motorbike ride assassinations in the US, gunning down enemies point blank. In an ironic twist of fate, this method is how Blanco’s life ended at the age of 69 outside a butcher shop in Medellín in September 2012 (she was deported back to Colombia in 2004 after having served almost 20 years in prison).

Despite the programme-makers’ intentions, however, there’s always the risk that narco-culture TV shows and films still glamorise the lifestyle, especially for audiences who might not have been affected by the war on drugs. There have been questions over how Pablo Escobar was portrayed as an antihero in Narcos. People rooted for him, but Colombians remembered how he terrorised their streets.

According to Bonello, “Most Latin Americans have either been directly affected by organised crime or know someone who’s been affected by it. It is and remains the biggest threat to public security in Latin America. It’s much more personal for many people who live South of the US/Mexico border. The challenge is to try and create content that doesn’t glorify things.”

Griselda premieres on Netflix on 25 January.

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