Everything you need to know about LGBTQ+ ‘Cocaine Godmother’ Griselda Blanco

A photo of Sofia Vegara playing Griselda Blanco, she is sitting at a table outdoors with her arms folded and wearing a blue dress. She has long dark hair.

With the release of Netflix’s new limited series Griselda, which premiered on January 25, everyone is wondering who exactly Griselda Blanco is. Or was, rather.

The show, featuring Modern Family alumna Sofía Vergara, explores Griselda Blanco’s journey from her humble beginnings in Colombia to becoming one of Miami’s biggest drug ‘Queenpins’.

The six-episode mini series is a fictional dramatisation delves into the dark and murderous world of cocaine trafficking and drug-running between South America and the USA.

But who was the real Griselda Blanco?

Blanco became a criminal at a young age

Blanco was born in 1943 in Cartagena, Colombia, which many may recognise as the city where notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar ran wild.

Blanco then moved to Medillín, another city in Colombia, when she was three. By the age of 11, she had kidnapped, ransomed, and killed a young boy from a wealthy family.

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She then apparently became a pickpocket and sex worker after running away from home at the age of 19 to escape sexual abuse by her mother’s boyfriend.

Blanco moved to New York at the age of 21

Blanco illegally emigrated to New York using fake papers with her three children and her second husband, Alberto Bravo, where she then set up her drug operation.

But, she was caught in a federal drug investigation called Operation Banshee after intercepting 150 kilos of cocaine and indicted on drug conspiracy charges in 1975, leading her to flee back to Colombia.

Just a few years later, Blanco returned to the United States to restart her drug operation in Miami after murdering Bravo, where she became involved in the drug-related violence of the period known as the Miami Drug War.

The drug world in Miami brought in $20 billion per year, with an estimated 70% of all cocaine entering the United States passing through South Florida by 1980.

Blanco is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community

Blanco went on to re-marry and had a fourth child, but it was no secret that she was attracted to both women and men. She often had sexual encounters with women while she was married to her third husband, Dario Spulveda.

Was Griselda Blanco bisexual? Well, her exact sexuality is not entirely clear. Blanco never had a significant relationship with a women nor did she explicitly identify as bisexual, though the Netflix series does make mention of this aspect of her sexuality and her interest in throwing drug-fuelled orgies.

Blanco was caught and sentenced to over 30 years in prison on drug and murder charges in 1985. She was released and deported back to Colombia in 2004 and eventually killed in 2012 by a motorcycle assassin.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco holding a baseball bat
Blanco was also known as the ‘Cocaine Godmother’. (Netflix)

How true is the Netflix series?

Griselda is posited as an origin story for Blanco, who is also known as the ‘Cocaine Godmother’, and does not shy away from the darker and grittier details of her life.

Vergara previously told Today: “Most of the people know of Griselda as the ruthless, violent drug lord that she was. So we were very careful not to glorify her in the series.”

“But we also wanted to take time to uncover the deeper story of Griselda, how beyond all odds, a poor, uneducated woman from Colombia managed to create a massive, multi-billion dollar empire in a male-dominated industry, in a country that was not her own, through tactics that she devised that were both ingenious and cruel,” she said.

There is a lot of gory scenes in the show so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Griselda is available to watch on Netflix and features Vergara as the titular character alongside Karol G, Vanessa Ferlito, Alberto Guerra, and Juliana Aidén Martinez.

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