Pablo Escobar is a name synonymous with ruthless decisions, violence, drug trafficking, and of course hippos. There are multiple documentaries, podcast episodes, and fictionalized dramatizations about the rise and fall of the man known as El Padrino (The Godfather). It simply can't be overstated how far his cocaine ring reached and how many people it attracted. Was one of those people Griselda Blanco?
Blanco was at the center of the Miami drug wars in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her hedonistic lifestyle was surpassed only by her viciousness and love of the game. Allegedly, Escobar once said, "The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco." This doesn't necessarily indicate the two spent any time together. Did Pablo Escobar know Griselda Blanco? The drug trafficking world isn't very large so it seems likely.
Did Pablo Escobar know Griselda Blanco?
Although it has never been confirmed that Escobar and Blanco knew each other, it stands to reason that Escobar was well aware of the Cocaine Godmother. She got her start with her second husband Alberto Bravo whom she met in Medellín in the early 1970s. Bravo was a small-time drug dealer and would be the person responsible for introducing Blanco to the Medellín Cartel, per Inside Edition.
The Medellín Cartel was created and headed up by none other than, Pablo Escobar. Perhaps Bravo wasn't a big enough player to be invited into Escobar's inner circle, but El Padrin undoubtedly knew the name Griselda Blanco when she came into her own after Bravo's death. Blanco ran her organization similar to the Medellín Cartel, drumming up support by positioning herself as a savior to those around her, while simultaneously being ruthless and terrifying.
Griselda Blanco wasn't the only female drug lord.
According to the BBC, Blanco wasn't the only woman to rise through the drug trafficking ranks. As of the time of this writing, Guadalupe Fernández Valencia is "the highest-ranking woman in the Sinaloa Cartel to emerge into the public eye, who ran logistics and was a money launderer for El Chapo." In Guatemala, Marllory Chacon Rossell was known as the Queen of the South and her specialty was money laundering as well as drug trafficking in all of Central America.
Deborah Bonello, author of Narcas: The Secret Rise of Women in Latin America's Cartels, told the outlet that she was fascinated by Bonello because she was educated. Bonello was also beautiful yet remained far under the radar even though the "U.S. Treasury Department said that she was one of the most prolific traffickers in Central America." The same conundrum also appears when one thinks about serial killers. Most female serial killers are angels of death, choosing a more quiet form of murder.
Blanco is a rare exception to the idea that women are less violent, which is probably why we've heard of her and not other women who worked quietly but effectively behind the scenes. Or, they dispatched others to do their dirty work and made sure their own hands stayed clean.