Is scarface based on a true story?
The real story behind the movie Scarface The movie Scarface with Al Pacino, and directed by Brian DePalma, is based on a true story that was still evolving about the time the movie was shot. This real life story is very violent, and started a couple of years before the movie was shot. The real life story involved real life individuals living and interacting both in the USA and in Bolivia. These individuals were criminals and outlaws at all levels of the illegal drug trade and of government structures. These characters crossed the borders back and forth in the commission of their crimes, which evidenced the trans-national character of their criminal enterprise. The real life story is more complicated and interesting than what the movie Scarface portraits. The story of the real Scarface started in Bolivia, around July, 1980. The increased demand for Cocaine in the USA and northern Europe in the late 70's and early 80's resulted in a shotgun increment in the production of this drug in South America, mainly in Bolivia. With a Wild West mentality and attitude, drug lords in Bolivia started to bribe corrupt Bolivian officials at all levels, which soon became greedy and started to find new ways to facilitate drug trafficking within Bolivia and to move the cocaine produced, to the drug markets in the USA and northern Europe. The corrupt Bolivian government officials included some high-ranking military officers, who allied with each other and planned and executed the ultimate attempt to finally seize power by the horns in Bolivia. With a violent coup d'etat, these military officers aided by the extreme "right wing" members of the Bolivian government, seized the reins of government in 1980, and did not meet any resistance by the citizens, since they were dissatisfied with the civilian government anyway. The high ranking military officers involved in the coup d'etat of July 1980, were headed by General Luis Garcia Meza Tejada and his right arm and Minister of the Interior Cnl. Luis Arce Gomez. These two were just the two heads of a body of hundreds of military officers that aligned themselves with Garcia-Meza and Arce Gomez, but that were never publicly denounced. Some of them are even still active today in different spheres of government and economic activities in Evo Morales' Bolivia. The above referenced group of Bolivian Military Officers, headed by Garcia Meza and Arce Gomez, weaseled their way inside the close circle of the then lawfully elected President of Bolivia, Mrs. Lydia Gueiller Tejada. Gueiller Tejada was pressured into appointing Army General Luis Garcia Meza as Commander in Chief of the entire Bolivian Armed forces. Once in office, Garcia Meza formed a military "Junta." Garcia Meza made it looks as if were acting in defense of the welfare of the Bolivian people, as if the constitutional government of Gueiller Tejada were inefficient and corrupt and as if he were the rescuing hero of the populace. A military Junta is a powerful body created in times of extreme distress in a country, and it is usually composed of all the country's Military Generals coming together to decide over national matters and the countries destiny, as they take over the government from the hands of the constitutionally elected civilians. The history of the Junta goes back to Roman times, when military Generals formed Triumvirates to seized power and the reins of the government, mainly to benefit themselves, but pretending that they are doing it for the good of the people. The Junta created in Bolivia in 1980, was unlawful and unnecessary, since there was no distress in the country at the time, and the civilian government was not committing any abuses or illegal activities at all. The Junta headed by Garcia Meza was created by him, with the sole purpose, and intention, of taking over power and to facilitate cocaine traffic within Bolivia and to facilitate export activities of Cocaine to the USA and European drug markets, where demand had reached the highest point in history. Investigations have revealed that the money used to finance the coup d'etat by the Junta, came from Cocaine trafficking, and was handed out personally to Garcia Meza by two of the most powerful drug lords in Bolivia. The coup d'etat committed by Garcia Meza's "Junta," went to the history books as the "Bolivian Cocaine Coup" of July 17 1980 (wikipedia.org). Additionally, it is worthwhile to mention that most of the officers involved in Garcia Meza's coup d'etat, were the same officers involved in General Hugo Banzer Suarez's dictatorship of the early 1970's. Maybe these officers aligned themselves with Garcia Meza, because they missed the power they enjoyed during Banzer Suarez's dictatorship, or maybe they felt compelled to re-take power because the net was tightening around them as the people demanded the investigation of the economic and human right abuses committed by these officers while in power with Banzer Suarez (wikipedia.org). Anyhow, once Garcia Meza was in power, he immediately appointed the then Army Colonel Luis Arce Gomez, as his Minister of the Interior. Furthermore, Garcia Meza invested Arce Gomez with unlimited powers and immunity, to reign loose even over life and death of the Bolivian citizens. It is now part of history what Arce Gomez said once on public television, addressing the Bolivian public, Arce Gomez said: "from now on, anyone who is against the government in any way, better leave his house with his last will under his arm." Arce Gomez is actually portrayed in the Scarface movie; he is portrayed as one of the associates of Tony Montana's powerful cocaine supplier Alejandro Sosa. Furthermore, in the scene where Sosa seeks Montana's help to get rid of a political adversary in Washington DC, the president of Bolivia's name is mentioned openly, as one of Sosa's co-associates; Obviously, DePalma changed Garcia Meza's real name to General "Cucombre," the "Bolivian Cocaine President." Also, the reason why Alejandro Sosa wants Montana to help him is to prevent the speech of a Bolivian political dissident and activist, who is in New York at the time, to speak in front of the United Nations to get help to destitute Garcia Meza from power. The last, is a real episode in history, and it is even depicted in the movie Scarface, when the dissident is talking with 60 Minutes' reporter, which happened in reality at the end of 1980. It is also a real fact that the real life individuals, portrayed in Scarface by Montana, Alejandro Sosa, the Cucombre's minister of the interior, met at Sosa's mansion in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to plan this assassination. The meeting was investigated and made public by a real life documentary aired by the CBS's "60 minutes." Furthermore, in this documentary, the Bolivian political activist, denounces the involvement of the Bolivian government in drug trafficking activities, and names all three players in the cocaine trafficking from Bolivia to the USA: Bolivian President General Luis Garcia Meza, Bolivian Minister of the Interior Colonel Luis Arce Gomez, and drug lord and Bolivian entrepreneur Roberto Suarez Gomez, the King of Cocaine, portrayed as Alejandro Sosa in Scarface. The way this character of Alejandro Sosa is portrayed in the movie Scarface, is based on a real-life events and documented incidents and activities, related to drug trafficking involving Bolivian drug lord Roberto Suarez, "the King of Cocaine." (For more information on Roberto Suarez Gomez, go to the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Su%C3%A1rez_Gom%C3%A9z ) In real life, Roberto Suarez Gomez, established connections and deals with both, General Garcia Meza and Colonel Luis Arce Gomez, "the minister of Cocaine." By these connections and agreements, Roberto Suarez obtained protection and Carte Blanche, to do and undo whatever he pleased in order to further his drug trafficking activities. Roberto Suarez of course, was to make payments to every single member of the corrupt military government pyramidal structure, which had Garcia Meza and Arce Gomez sitting at the top. Roberto Suarez's operations included the production of cocaine in Bolivia, starting at the purchase of coca leafs from the coca farmers in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz; the clandestine production of base paste of Cocaine in laboratories hidden in the jungles of Santa Cruz; the packaging of Cocaine base paste into cocaine bricks of one kilo each; the stashing all those kilos to make tons so they could be flown in bulk from clandestine air strips in the jungles in Santa Cruz. Bolivia, to be dropped in the swamps in Florida, near Miami. Researchers have estimated that Roberto Suarez Gomez made an average of six hundred million dollars a year, that is in 1980's millions of dollars. If we convert the buying power of 600 million dollars to today's dollars, we get $1500 million dollars a year that Roberto Suarez Gomez earned after paying all expenses of the overhead. Roberto Suarez was so filthy rich and cocky, that he contacted both presidents, President Ronald Reagan of the USA, and the then president of Bolivia in 1983, and offered to pay off the entire Bolivian International debt in one cash payment, in exchange for immunity for his drug-trafficking activities in the USA and Bolivia (wikipedia.org). Just to have an idea of how much money Roberto Suarez offered, we must remember that at the time, the Bolivian International Debt was 3 billion dollars, again, in 1980's dollars, about ten billion dollars today. Nobody knows what ever happened with this offer, obviously it was discretely ignored by everyone, but it made the news all over the world though. Finally, it is important to mention that the wealth that is presented for the fictional character Alejandro Sosa from the movie, is nothing when compared with the actual wealth Roberto Suarez amassed during his outlaw reign in Bolivia through his puppet government headed by Luis Garcia Meza. Also, Roberto Suarez Gomez, the King of Cocaine, is actually the one who started Pablo Escobar into the business. Pablo Escobar was Roberto Suarez's agent in Colombia. Thanks to Roberto Suarez support, Pablo Escobar rose rapidly through the ranks, from a street level drug dealer, into what he became, the biggest drug lord the world has ever seen. In actuality, Pablo Escobar took over the reins of the business after Roberto Suarez stepped down due to family and legal problems in Bolivia, when the USA tighten the noose once Garcia Meza was put out of power. In conclusion, it is calculated that about 10000 people in Bolivia, and about 4500 people in Miami, USA and in Colombia, lost their lives as a direct result of the illegal deals and connections of these nefarious Bolivian strong men: Luis Garcia Meza, Luis Arce Gomez, and Roberto Suarez Gomez. The Garcia Meza dictatorship was short-lived, as it only held the country's government for 13 months. After these 13 months, Garcia Meza was forced by international pressure, to turn over power to yet another Army General, Celso Torrelio Villa, in August 3, 1981. Regardless of its length in power, the Garcia Meza dictatorship has left a profound mark in the Bolivian history and in the minds of the Bolivian and the American people, not only because of the intense violence and all the civil rights abuses, but also because it created, and marked, a time in the history of both counties, strongly related to dirty money, corruption, abuse, drugs, libertinage, street violence, and the wrong way of pursuing the American Dream. The above is beautifully portrayed in the Brian De Palma film Scarface, interpreted by the great Al Pacino.