Episode #21- Narco Mindset Podcast - Challenges that people of color face - Part 1

Author: Dr. Jorge L. Valdés | | Categories: addiction , author , biography , cocaine , Colombia , crime , depression , inspirational , Medellin , motivational , reform , rehab , CARTEL , CHRISTIAN , drugs , JORGEVALDESPHD , NARCO , NARCOMINDSET , prison


Episode #21

Challenges that people of color face - Part 1

June 24, 2020

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber 



In this episode, Dr. Valdes addresses the challenges our nation faces today as a result of some police brutality and a sorely neglected community, finally erupting as a result of the many years of abuse.

For Dr. Valdes, a person of color, he sees the problem is much more complicated. Dr. Valdes stresses that it is vital that we do not judge the many good police officers who leave their homes every day and risk not coming home so that they can protect the community they serve. This specific incident to Dr. Valdes it almost seems like the officer was possessed.

Dr. Valdes believes that no matter how much of America we burn and destroy, it will never change other's perceptions against people of color; on the contrary, the looting and vandalism only affirm the belief for those who dislike people of color.

The crux of the problem that needs addressing is criminal justice reform, here is where all the issues lie. In the year 2016, in Georgia of the 8760 people convicted of drug offenses, 22% were white, and 78% were people of color. This is where all the leaders who want to make a difference need to direct their energies to; it is in the ballot boxes and in Washington DC, where we need to stand and protest.

Last, Lebron James is the model to follow, we who succeed can not abandon our communities we must reinvest in them. Sadly, the minute a person of color makes it the first thing they do is leave their town and move to the white suburbs where the people we criticize the most live.

Narco Mindset is an enlightening, informative, effortlessly entertaining podcast.  It contains compelling RAW storytelling and intellectually honest talk about life.  We will be delving into life challenges, life miracles, life recovery, and life opportunities. It illuminates a new generation on the power and the impact of a positive mindset. 

Narco Mindset is an enlightening, informative, effortlessly entertaining podcast.  It contains compelling RAW storytelling and intellectually honest talk about life.  We will be delving into life challenges, life miracles, life recovery, and life opportunities. It illuminates a new generation on the power and the impact of a positive mindset.

Please click play to hear life-altering stories.  

Complete transcripts are available as part of a Blog on www.jorgevaldesphd.com

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INTRO:             Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco, It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.

Jorge:               Today on the Narco Mindset Podcast: I heard this voice that was saying, “Snap it, snap it. Kill him, kill him, kill him.” So, we bring about change through unity and protest. I asked myself, where the hell were you when Kaepernick, all he did was take a knee in protest. How many of you were marching for that man? We’re united together as one, and we helped each other. When one of us succeeded, we all succeeded. Congress changed the laws to make sure that minorities would become the majority of the prison system. We became an inventory. Rehabilitation was not in nobody’s mind, and the prisons are full of young kids, 16, 17, 18 with a life sentence who are not criminals.

                        Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Jorge Valdes, I am your host and I will be with you for the next few minutes or long minutes or 30 minutes, an hour. Anyway, it’s been quite a challenging two weeks. My family and I moved from where we lived up north, Florida. I did not realize just how difficult and challenging moving is when you’re 64 years and suffer from a severe case of OCD. It’s impossible to go to bed if you have 300 boxes full of contents inside your house. My wife always complains about that. What is wrong with me? I tell her, “Well, that’s the way God created me, so if you have a problem, take it up with God.”

                        I have been really wrestling with the fact of making this podcast. Wrestling with the fact of, what do I say that I don’t come off in a way where I diminish the pain, I ignore what’s going on, or I augment the situation, or even hurt somebody. The truth of the matter is that we live in a world that no matter what we believe, there’s going to be 50% of the population that’s going to like it and there’s 50% of the population that’s not going to like it. There’s 50% of the people that are going to love us, 50% of the people that are going to hate us. As we all witnessed the brutal ... talk about brutal. Honestly, it’s almost demonic.

                        When I looked at that man’s face, and I saw him really putting his knee on that man’s throat, and look at the camera knowing that he was being filmed. Knowing that he was going to show up in every social media. Knowing that there was going to be serious consequences for what he did. It almost seemed to me, honestly, like he was possessed. Look carefully at his eyes, and see the look in his eye. It’s a look that, “I don’t care. I hate you, I hate this man, I hate everybody.” A person that abuses another person, it’s not the first time that they have done that. I looked at it and I said, “What is the world coming to that people can hurt other people and not even really care if anybody every finds out about it or if anybody is filming it, or even what the consequences of it are.”

                        That’s what to me, honestly, I would venture to say the man was seriously possessed. I’m not a person that goes around seeing demons everywhere or anything like that but I do know that darkness is real. I saw it. I was in a prison in Alabama where I saw what I felt was the devil right there in front of me. It was four cells on the top with eight men, four cells on the bottom with another eight men, and we rotated. When lockdown came then each cell with two men would have the responsibility of cleaning the entire what the call a pot. It was actually almost like, if you can think of an apple pie, and you take a slice of it. If you think in the middle of that apple pie in a circular manner is a control center that sees into all the different pieces of that apple pie, that’s how that prison was created.

                        That night, it was our time to clean our cells. Immediately, of course, the first thing that happens is when it’s your turn, you clean your cell first because we only get one bucket of water, and by the time we’ve cleaned three cells, the rest of the cells are just spreading dirty water. We get the mop and the broom, and I tell my roommate, “I’m going to go upstairs, and I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to start mopping our cell, and then I’m going to come out. Suddenly, as I went upstairs and I started mopping my cell, I heard this noise. My gut reaction was to stick, the mop stick, to stick it out and make sure that my cell was not locked in. Sure enough, two other inmates somehow had made sure that their cell was not totally locked when lockdown came.

                        The minute that the guard went out into the control center and we started cleaning, they came out and they went after my roommate. Now, he had just been fully talking a bunch of garbage like most people that are in prison, have no time to do anything else, and they came, and they were literally ... one was trying to lock me in, and then the other one was literally trying to throw this young man over the railing so that he would die. As I stuck out this stick, I came out running. When that other inmate saw that he could not lock me in, he went to help his friend to see if they could throw him over before I got there. By the time I got there, they had not thrown him over yet, and I grabbed that inmate by the neck, and I had him in a position that I could snap his neck very easily.

                        I heard this voice that was saying, “Snap it, snap it. Kill him, kill him, kill him.” It was crazy because there was a part of me that was saying, “Hold yourself until the guard comes.” I was screaming for the guard because they had a microphone inside each of the pots so the control center could hear it. I was screaming for the guard to come and help me so I didn’t kill this man. The truth is I could have easily killed him and ended up, instead of going home in the years I did, I would have ended up getting a life sentence. It would have been involuntary manslaughter but it would have been manslaughter. I was just trying to do my time. After that, I began to really, really pray, and realize that it was a demonic experience because I heard a voice that I’ve never heard.

                        Even when I gave my life to God and people say, “There’s angels in heaven. Let’s celebrate when a repentant sinner changes his life.” Well, I tell people, those angels must not be Cuban because I didn’t hear anything and my life just went from bad to worse. But this time I was clearly hearing this, so I’ve seen that. I saw the same look in that man’s eyes as I saw one time at Angola on Miguel Velez’s face, the worst assassin the Medellin Cartel had as I went to see him after he had been locked down. Suddenly, he started foaming at the mouth, and was mad at me, and was like, “Don’t come here anymore,” and talking in a voice that was not his.

                        I’d been his friend for many, many years, and I felt like that day I was right there in the presence of the devil, and I began to pray for the man. Those are my only two experiences where I felt that hey, this was demonic. I saw it that day in those pictures of that man killing him. Then what went on after that? So, we begin to protest and then unfortunately, we did not peacefully protest because as I’ve been telling a lot of people, the anxiety that existed in America, in many communities because of what I call the lockdown, it was tremendous. I said that the challenges of mental health, the drug overdoses that we’re going to see as a result of people being locked down is going to outweigh by far the many deaths that we are seeing of the COVID-19 virus.

                        The thing is that as we look at all these different situations, we really, really, never stop to realize that there’s just something bigger. Many people kept saying, “We must worry about our health before the economy.” That’s fine and dandy for me. When they talk about two months of quarantine, think about it, what the hell is two months of quarantine for me who spent 10 years behind a 3 by 8 without a woman, without any Bourbon, without Netflix. To me, it was just a piece of cake. As a matter of fact, that’s what I do most of the time, I just stay home and write, and talk like I’m talking to you today. So, it didn’t hurt me at all, and by God’s grace, I’m financially well to the point that yeah, I lost a lot of money in the market but most people don’t even have a dollar in the market.

                        The truth of the matter is, no one is going to take my home. No one is going to take my car. We’re going to have food. I ended up buying a cow, a young Heifer, and I’ve got about 800 pounds of beef. I divided it with a friend of mine, so I have enough beef to last me for two, three pandemics. To many people that live on paycheck to paycheck, that have less than $400 in savings, that don’t have enough money to fill a gas tank when a hurricane comes so they can leave town. To many, the lockdown was their health. It was selfish for me to see many people that are really at serious risk, wanting those that were at minimum risk to be locked down with them. Listen, one death is too many for me, and I hurt for those people but to me, this was one of the greatest crimes in humanity.

                        Also, as we saw many people in long term facilities dying, old people dying by themselves. I’m going to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit how many freaking guards are at that door, if my mom and dad are dying, I’ll be damned if they’re going to die without me. I’m going to break in there, I don’t care how many viruses I get, they’re going to die with me holding their hand.

                        To me, that was horrific, horrific. Old people screaming for their loved ones, and the best we could do is say, no, they couldn’t come? We couldn’t be creative and find a room in the facility where people could safely be with their loved ones? This is horrific what has gone on. I tell people, “Look, if you’re afraid for your health, I respect that. Stay home.” Don’t force those that are not and that have to work. That mother that has to feed her child. 40% of single moms are raising children. That mother has to feed her child, all of a sudden that couldn’t even go to work if she had a job because who the hell was going to take care of her child? Very, very difficult situation.

                        I saw the buildup anxiety in people, and I saw the mental health that’s overtaking our country. Suicides tripled. Drug overdoses tripled. I knew sooner or later, something was going to ignite that dynamite. Well, all it took is for this man to kill this African-American young man. It’s sad because now there’s a mother without a child doing the unthinkable. It’s not humane, it’s not natural law for a mother to have to bury her young child. Then what did we do? We took out to the streets and we burned our communities. We burned stuff even that had nothing to do with it. We burned Targets that are probably the nicest store in many of our communities.

                        Now, we want to blame every cop in the world for it. Listen, I am not here to diminish at all the abuse by police officer, but God, let’s realize there are millions of men and women that leave ... I know some that are damn good people that leave their house and might not see their family again to protect you and I. So, yeah, there’s some scumbags and there might be a bunch of scumbags out there but so are they in the grocery stores and we don’t stop going to the grocery stores. The problem becomes exacerbated because when we act, and I’m not saying that it’s justified or not justified. The oppression the people of color have received is horrific. I know that. I was a 10 year old kid coming from Cuba in a country that half of the kids in our neighborhood were black, and we never saw it different. Suddenly getting off the airport as a 10 year old kid, and seeing signs that said, “No Cubans, no animals. Go back to Cuba, this is not Havana.”

                        I told my dad, “Why do they hate me?” Then going to school and seeing girls laugh at me because I was poor, and being called spic, and being called son of a bitch. To a Cuban, to be called a son of a bitch in America? Many people use that word very lightly but to me, it was fighting words. We were very, very poor, and we looked poor but we were decent human beings. Suddenly, when we burn our community, what do we give those who have been hurting us, those who have been putting us down, those who don’t like us, those who don’t like the color of our skin, all we do is give them the reason to reinforce their belief. So, we bring about change through unity and protest.

                        I look at all these African-American athletes that have now, thank God come forward for this movement. I ask myself, where the hell were you when Kaepernick, all he did was take a knee in protest. How many of you were matching for that man whose life was destroyed? That’s not to diminish this situation at all. I know the situation getting life to a boiling point where we explode but then again, I look at it and I say, why has it taken us so long? Why is Michael Jordan given $100 million now and didn’t use $100 million years ago to fix our criminal justice system that is the root of our problem. We can march till Jesus comes. Listen, this is for me, and you might agree, you might disagree.

                        We’re never going to stop people from hating other people because of the color of their skin. I don’t give a shit how much we march. I don’t give a shit if we burn the Whitehouse with the president inside. It’s not going to change. We can go back to biblical times and realize that hatred is real. We can see Jews hating other Jews just because of what part of Palestine they came from. We saw Jews burning Jesus because they didn’t like him calling himself the Messiah. Hatred among classes has been around forever. I’m going to tell you this right now, I don’t give a crap how much money we put. I don’t give a crap how many corporations come forth, how many CEOs step down to have another CEO take his place of color. Listen, that’s not going to change how the world looks at a person of color.

                        Social injustice exists forever. Discrimination exists forever. Listen, in prison, Latinos discriminated against White people. African-Americans discriminated against Whites. Whites against Black and Latino. Unless Christ lives in your heart, everybody hates somebody, and that’s sad because that’s not how we were created. Hatefulness is a learned behavior. As we see people now giving money, $100 million, and praise God that they are. I ask myself, where have they been all this time? This is not the first African-American or person of color killed by a police officer. Where were we when 7000 Blacks killed 7000 Blacks? When thousands of Latinos killed thousands of Latinos? Why are we not marching for that? Black lives matter, no doubt about it but so do Latino lives matter and Asian lives matter and White lives Matter. All lives matter because all lives were created by an amazing God who created each and every one of us equal.

                        Created us and looked at each and every one of us. I tell this to people, even the worst rapist, the scum of the earth, when he was created or she was created, the murderer, whatever heinous crime any of them done, when they were created, I believe with all my heart, God looked upon them and said, “It is good.” I was looked upon as a horrific criminal one time, and now I’m looked upon as a respected doctor. People can change but what is the problem that I find, or where would I find the solution, or not the solution but the beginning of the solution? Number one, I looked at the Cuban American community in Miami when we came, and we were despised, horrifically despised. We came by the thousands if not the millions, and Americans were afraid of us, rightfully so.

                        They were Afraid of losing their jobs. They were afraid of losing their culture. Afraid of many, many things, of losing their language as they have. There was one thing about my community, not because I’m Cuban that I believe made a difference. Number one, we realized we were never going to let these people love us or even like us but we could surely force them to respect us. We united together as one, and we helped each other. When one of us succeeded, we all succeeded. When one came from Cuba, they would go to someone’s home and stay there for three months rent free even though that person was struggling financially.

                        Then he would be able to save enough money to get his own apartment and his own house and then he would do it for another Cuban. We did that and my dad made us go to a dentist who was our dentist in Cuba even though the sucker didn’t have anesthesia, and his wife kept pedaling that drill but he was our dentist, and that’s how we did it. We stuck together. What do we do today? We people of color have power, we have money. Where I look at and I begin to see the root of all these problems, it begins with criminal justice reform. In 1986, the laws were changed. Congress changed the laws to make sure that minorities would become the majority of the prison system. How so? Well, if you figure that it would take five grams of crack to get five years in federal prison ... I think five, it could be ten. Nonetheless, it would take 100 times more grams of powder to get the same sentence.

                        Why? Well, because crack was cheap, it was available, it was usually bought by one gram and it was in the minority communities where powder was more for the higher society. So, it began then we had the three strike laws. Then Congress passed law saying, “We’re going to make our communities safer.” Bullshit. What it became is we became an inventory. Rehabilitation was not in nobody’s mind. All of a sudden, they were locking us up. They were locking us up by the thousands and the thousands and the thousands. We look at the prison population, when I went in there in 1979, African-Americans and Latinos combined were much less than the White population but right now, the African-American population is as big as the White prison population, and combined with the Latino, much bigger.

                        We see kids getting a life sentence for the three strikes. They robbed a bike when they were little, and they ended up being caught with a joint, and later on, they sold 10 joints or an ounce of pot. Now, they’ve get life because there are three strike rules and the prisons are full of young kids: 16, 17, 18 with a life sentence who are not criminal. The prison system is full of young people of color who have mental health issues. I look at my grandchildren and by God’s grace, I’ve been given five amazing, beautiful grandchildren. I look at them and they're so healthy and they’re going to have every opportunity in the world. First thing my wife and I do is set up a college fund so their college is secured. Their parents work hard, they give them everything. We enjoy them. They’re beautiful, they’re happy.

                        In a sense, whenever I see them, I think about the many, many young babies of color that are born in the neighborhood where their father might be in jail, their mother might be on crack, and they have absolutely no chance to survive. I looked at my life and when I went to prison, I had no excuse, none at all. I had amazing parents who loved me, gave me right morals, who taught me right, who educated me. I had an amazing future. In my freaking selfishness, I made choices seeking meaning and money that destroyed me and destroyed my parents, and destroyed my brother who for 10 plus years, drove every weekend to see me in a federal prison somewhere.

So, when I ended up in prison, I should have never ended up in there but when I look at a lot of these kids, there was no other place they could have ended up because they are raised literally in a jungle. They’re raised in a jungle where then what is their number one choice? “Well, I’m going to join a gang.” Why? “Because I need to belong. I have a hunger for someone to lead me. For someone to mold me. For someone to show they love me. So, they’re raised by a gang, they’re raised by drug dealers and eventually, a natural outcome is they’re going to go to prison. If they’re older, people [inaudible 00:21:21] and they go to prison then their children now have 80% chance of going to prison.

The wife has to go on welfare, the community is destroyed, the family is destroyed, and in the prison, they are not going to rehabilitate you. We had amazing programs at Tallahassee in 1979 that really, really showed that people could be rehabilitated. Let me tell you, you take those young people in prison today, as much of a hustler as they’ve been all of their lives, as much suffering as they have endured, you give them a chance, you show them that you care, that you love them and it’s unbelievable what they can do to change their community and change other young people from not following their path. No one wants to go to prison, no one. But many of our young people of color have no other chance. Again, I thank you for tuning into the podcast. God bless you, and see you next time on the Narco Mindset podcast.      

OUTRO:            We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.