The World is Tony’s: a Scarface Essay
In 1980, nearly 125,000 Cubans were released from communist Fidel Castro’s rule. Castro opened the Cuban harbor for the Mariel boatlift, a mass emigration of Cubans between April 15th and October 31st who fled to Miami, Florida in a total of 1,700 boats. The 1983 crime film, Scarface, is a movie about one of the Cuban fugitives, Tony Montana, who settled in Florida. When arriving to the United States, Tony had to lie to officers saying he was a political prisoner, when really, he was an assassin with a criminal record. Subsequently, officers were suspicious of Tony’s story and refused to allow him a green card.
Due to the unfortunate event of being denied a green card, Tony and his friend Manny were sent to a refugee camp where they got involved with Miami drug Cartel leader, Frank Lopez. Lopez had agreed to arrange for the boys to get green cards in exchange for killing Emilio Rebenga when he comes to the camp. Upon Rebengas arrival, Manny and his posy cause a disturbance that results in Tony stabbing Rebenga. Because of the accomplishment, Tony and Manny receive the promised green cards and get jobs at a food stand in Little Havana, Miami, finally getting a fresh start.
How it works
Furthermore, a month goes by and Manny is contacted by Omar Sanchez who is Frank Lopez’s partner. Sanchez makes a deal with Tony and Manny to work for Lopez’s Cartel, helping unload a boat containing 500 kilos of marijuana from Mexico in exchange for 500 dollars. The FBI considers drug cartels as an example of organized crime. It has been stated, “The FBI describes organized crime as a continuing criminal conspiracy with an organized structure that is successful because of its use of fear, corruption, and violence. The motivation behind this conspiracy is greed.” (Mallory, p. 5, 2012) In this case, Tony was, in fact, greedy and unsatisfied with the offer. So, he declined the deal where Omar then responds with a 5,000 dollar offer to handle a cocaine deal with the Columbians which he ultimately accepts. At this time in the 80’s, “Columbia became, in the words of Chepesiuk (2003), “the linchpin of the Latin American drug trade.” Several factors contributed to this newfound prominence. Initially, access to coca leaves was provided by Columbia’s neighbors, Peru and Bolivia, where large quantities of the plants or bushes were grown.” (Mallory, p. 52, 2012) A few days later, Tony and Manny meet the Columbians at a hotel in Miami for the first time with two other Cuban immigrants, Angel and Chi Chi. Tony and Angel are greeted by the head dealer, Hector, who threatened to kill Tony for money instead of selling them cocaine as planned. Tony gets handcuffed to the shower pole while Angel gets killed with a chainsaw. Manny who hears the uproar from the car storms into the room with a machine gun killing Hector and his men with Tony. Chi Chi still waiting in the car was able to escape with Tony and Manny who had taken all of the cocaine that Hector had.
The Columbian Cartels are known for being dangerous and violent. It has been stated, “During the 1980s, the cartels planted bombs that killed 63 people in one incident. In 1989, the cartel blew up a commercial aircraft, killing a large number of people because they believed an informant/ witness was aboard. They killed 30 of Columbia’s judges as well as hundreds of police officers and innocent bystanders.” (Mallory, p. 55, 2012) Tony, Manny and Chi Chi were extremely lucky to have escaped the Columbians during the incident. Tony being shaken up by the event, decided to bring the cocaine to Frank Lopez personally instead of going through Omar. Frank and Tony get along very well so Manny and Tony continue to work for Frank. Having to deal with a criminal trial, Frank is unable to make a planned meeting with major drug lord, Alejandro Sosa, in Bolivia and sends Tony and Omar instead. There, Tony and Omar arrange to smuggle drugs into the United States, but Omar disagrees with Tony’s plan to ship the drugs through Panama. Omar believes that Frank should be the only one allowed to make such decisions and pisses of drug lord Sosa who trusts in Tony. Sosa sends a helicopter for Tony to visit Frank and discuss the plans for the drug trade while he kills Omar, claiming that he is an informant.
Later, Tony ends his partnership with Frank Lopez and starts to work for Alejandro Sosa. Tony went to the Babylon Nightclub where he was patted down by detective, Mel Bernstein, who claim to have evidence of Tony being involved in the murder of Rebenga and his crew. Bernstein tries to bribe Tony with two first class tickets to London, but he is distracted by his sister, Gina, who he saw in the nightclub. While Tony is still there, he is almost killed by two men with machine guns and believes that Frank is behind it. Tony makes it out alive and goes to pay him a visit with Manny after tracking him down. When they get to Franks car dealership, they find Frank in a meeting with Bernstein. Realizing he was set up, Tony tells Manny to kill Frank while he kills Bernstein.
Another year goes by and Tony is doing well in the drug business and partnership with Sosa. Still selling cocaine, Tony was making about 15 million every month until he was caught and arrested for tax evasion and money laundering by undercover cop, Seidelbaum. Though, Sosa needs Tony for another job and does not want to lose him, so he contacts his friend in the US Justice Department in Washington, D.C to keep Tony safe. Fortunately, in the 1980s, corruption was not yet recognized and before the government passed new laws. It wasn’t until 2010, “Corruption was widespread during this cartels heyday and remains so today. In response, the government of Columbia has passed powerful laws to address drug trafficking and corruption, and hundreds of police and military have been discharged or prosecuted.” (Mallory, p. 63, 2012) Therefore, Tony was in the clear for prison time and joins Sosa on a trip to New York to kill Bolivian anti-government activists for exposing Sosa’s business with Bolivians on tv. The plan was to set a bomb under the activists’ car but Tony tells Sosa’s crew member not to set the bomb there because there are a wife and children in the car too. The member disregards what Tony tells him and goes to plant the bomb where Tony then shoots him for not listening, ultimately ruining his trust with Sosa.
After returning to Florida, Tony is in his office snorting cock looking for relief from the pain of the tragic events that happened in his life. Sosa sent assassins to Tony’s house to kill him. Without knowing, Tony’s sister came to see him at the same exact time and was killed by an assassin. All hell breaks loose and Tony takes a machine gun killing off the assassins but was eventually shot in the back, injuring him badly. He survived the attack but was robbed of most of his possessions. Tony’s mansion was taken over by undercover officers which, “these cases often require long-sitting grand juries, informant protection, special prosecutors, extensive undercover operations, and extraordinary surveillance techniques.” (Mallory, p. 3, 2012) So, Tony was known by officers that had ties with Sosa. Tony goes to see his lawyer, Sheffield, who has agreed to represent him but is warned by Tony not to come between him and Sosa. Tony ends up being ok and is able to pay off the undercovers to get his mansion back.
In conclusion, there are more events throughout the movie that represents the key aspect of true organized crime. From money laundering and drug trafficking to murder and corruption, this movie is a perfect depiction of what goes on in the life of criminals. It shows how Tony’s background had pushed him towards crime and how hard it is to escape that life once already involved. Scarface is loosely based on a 1932 film of the same name, where the main character is inspired by scandalous Mafia leader, Al Capone, who is one of the most notorious crime lords in mob history. Though in my opinion, being a better movie all around, Scarface shows the true reality of increased pressure from the police and the uprise to new laws, wars with Colombian drug cartels and Tony’s very own drug driven paranoia that led to his takedown.