“The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.”― Nathaniel Branden

February 15th, 1943 – A child is born in Cartagena, Columbia. She and her mother, move to Medellin when she was three years old. Soon thereafter, she becomes the victim of multiple sexual assaults by her mother’s boyfriend and becomes a prostitute.

At the age of 11, she kidnapped, attempted to ransom, and eventually shot a child from an upscale flatland neighborhood near her own neighborhood. She had become a pickpocket before she even turned 13. To escape the sexual assaults of her mother’s boyfriend, she ran away from home at the age of 19 and resorted to looting in Medellin until the age of 20.

In the mid-1970s, she illegally immigrated to the United States with false passports and settled in Queens, New York. She established a sizable illegal drug business there.

Soon, she would become a feared figure in the drug trade from Colombia to Miami, New York, and California.

April 1975 – The girl, who has been abused all of her life, is indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges along with 30 of her subordinates. She flees to Colombia before she could be arrested, but returned to the United States and settled in Miami in the late 1970s.

Her return coincided with the beginning of the very public and violent conflicts that involved hundreds of murders and killings yearly which were associated with the high crime epidemic that swept the City of Miami in the 1980s. She significantly contributed to the drug-related violence that plagued Miami.

The struggle by law enforcement to put an end to the influx of cocaine into Miami led to the creation of CENTAC 26 (Central Tactical Unit), a joint operation between the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) anti-drug operation. Her arrest becomes a top priority for the federal government.

1983 – Miami, FL – Her distribution network, which spanned the United States, earned $80 million per month. During that year, her third husband leaves her, returns to Colombia, and kidnaps their son, Michael Corleone Blanco. His purpose is to keep Michael safe and far from the violence of the cartels. She responded by paying assassins to murder her husband, and have her son returned to her in Miami.

Soon, her willingness to use violence towards anyone who displeased her leads her rivals to make repeated attempts to assassinate her. In an attempt to escape the hits that were called on her, she fled to California. Drug traffickers in Colombia allowed her access to killers who she used to murder her enemies. She commonly told them that everyone in a dwelling where the target was located should be killed.
Thus, several innocent people, even children, were killed along with the cartel’s intended victim. These extra murders caused Miami to become the murder capital of America for years.

February 17, 1985 – Los Angeles, CA – The woman who became known as “The Godmother” is arrested in her home by the DEA and charged with conspiring to manufacture, import, and distribute cocaine.

The case went to trial in federal court in New York City where she was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years.

While serving her sentence, she was charged with three counts of first-degree murder by the state of Florida. The prosecution made a deal with one of her most trusted hit men, Jorge Ayala, who agreed to testify against her.

However, the case collapsed due to technicalities relating to a phone sex scandal between Ayala and two female secretaries who worked in the state attorney’s office.

2004 – Miami – After serving her prison sentence, she is released and deported to Medellin. 

September 3, 2012 – Medellin – The abused child is now 69 years old. She takes a mid-afternoon walk to the Cardiso butcher shop on the corner of 29th Street. She is shot in the head and shoulder by a motorcyclist who entered the shop. Griselda Blanco “The Godmother” instantly dies from the gunshot wound.

Blanco went from being and innocent and abused child to the most ruthless drug lords in the world. The damage inflicted on her as a child shaped her into the monster she became.

Her story illustrates how a child’s experiences shape them as they become adults. Oftentimes, the abused child becomes an abuser later in life.

Protecting children is the key to reducing violence and other crimes in America.