Just when we thought there were no more stories to tell in the war on drugs, Netflix proves us wrong.
The streaming giant has released “Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy,” a documentary that traces the drug escapade’s history in the 1980s in the U.S.
In 90 minutes, director Stanley Nelson Jr. sheds light on another narrative of one of the most critical socio-political conflicts of recent decades. Focusing on the crack epidemic in America’s inner cities, the documentary explains the intricacies of marginalized communities and the impact on the nation’s judicial, prison, and health care systems.
A Continental Crisis
The 1980s were not only a time of conflict in the US. This decade will always be remembered as a dark period in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Amid civil wars and US interventionism, political and social structures deteriorated to an irreversible point.
On the one hand, the U.S. government was involved in the conflict against the Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua. On the other, Congress measured its limits in the political manipulation of the hemisphere, after decades of supporting regime changes in the Southern Cone.
Once the push back came from the Capitol against the rebel group’s funding, Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to the Khomeini government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. The administration hoped to use the arms sale proceeds to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.
A Homemade Blue Print
John Mattes, the investigative journalist from the documentary, said this was the perfect template for drug smuggling, noting, “It was a cozy arrangement that worked for everyone, except the American people.”
While debunking myths around crack cocaine, the slogan ‘war on drugs,’ the consumers, and more, the documentary bought in different well-versed professionals to explain the impact this international conflict had in American communities.
A senior analyst for the National Security Archive, Peter Kornbluh, said Ronald Reagan and his administration was in on the drug scheme and allowed the drugs to come into the country from Central America.
In one part of the interview, Kornbluh said their goal was to defeat communism in those countries, saying, “If that meant drugs got in and the youth of America used them, well, that was the way it was gonna be.”
The consequences of a political scheme that seeped its way into the country and destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives can still be felt. Since then, the drug epidemic has shifted, with more organizations trying to help those in need. As more comes to light of just how much the government was involved with drugs’ infiltration, we realize how little control communities had and just how much they were a pawn in a never-ending game of control.