‘Griselda’: What happened to the real Rivi Ayala?
(Credit: Netflix)


‘Griselda’: What happened to the real Rivi Ayala?

Griselda has gripped Netflix viewers with its retelling of the story of notorious cartel leader Griselda Blanco. Sofía Vergara’s portrayal of the Colombian drug lord has earned plenty of praise, but the men in her life have raised curiosity in viewers as well. One of these men is her trusted informer, Jorge ‘Rivi’ Ayala, played by Martin Rodriguez in the limited series.

In Griselda, Rivi, the right-hand man to the Godmother of Cocaine, starts as a hitman for another drug lord before joining forces with the formidable Blanco. Known for his loyalty and brutality, Rivi becomes instrumental in carrying out Griselda’s most heinous orders. 

According to the series, Vergara’s Griselda orchestrated her arrest to safeguard her family, leaving her sons with Rivi. But when he gets caught, he flips on Grisleda and strikes a deal with the government. However, Rivi derails the investigation against Griselda with a curious ploy.

Rivi flirts and has phone sex with the DA’s assistant and leaks the recorded call to the press. This not only sabotages the case but ensures that Griselda ends up with just a seven-year sentence on the drug charges. She doesn’t get convicted for the murders and assassinations she ordered.

What happened to Rivi Ayala after the events of Griselda?

After the events depicted in Griselda, the real-life Rivi faced a harsher fate than his on-screen counterpart. 

In 1993, Rivi pleaded guilty to three, including the tragic death of a two-year-old caught in the crossfire of his attempted hit on Jesus ‘Chucho’ Castro (played by Fredy Yate in the series). Sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, Rivi was suspected of over three dozen drug-related murders during the Miami Drug War, but the evidence was sufficient for only three convictions.

Rivi’s cooperation with the police, mirroring the events in the series, saved him from the death penalty. However, the phone sex scandal involving Rivi and members of the District Attorney’s office tarnished his credibility as a witness. Consequently, Blanco escaped more severe convictions, and Rivi received a life sentence. She received three consecutive 20-year sentences but was released after less than a decade due to health concerns.

Despite appealing for an early release in 2013 based on his cooperation with law enforcement, a Miami-Dade Circuit Judge deemed the request “untimely.” Rivi’s attorney expressed the belief that he would likely die in prison. Griselda Blanco was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2012, but Rivi is still serving his sentence. Even if he is released early, it is likely that Rivi will be deported to Colombia.

You can watch Griselda on Netflix and catch the trailer here: