A Town Built and Sustained By Cocaine

Classified by Nicaragua's government as a "Autonomous Area", the town of Bluefields, population 50,000, has an official unemployment rate of 85%. The primary industry is finding abandoned bags of cocaine that drift in from the sea.

"Bluefields is a creation of the gods of geography. Located halfway between the cocaine labs of Colombia and the 300 million noses of the United States, Bluefields is ground zero for cocaine transportation. Nicaraguan waters are near Colombian territorial limits, making the area extremely popular with cocaine smugglers using very small, very fast fishing boats... When the Americans get close, the traffickers toss the cocaine overboard, both to eliminate evidence and lighten their load in an escape attempt.

Residents remain so isolated from Central America they speak English and feel closer to Kingston than the Nicaraguan capital of Managua...

...Drug money has been used to build a school and replace the church roof. 'The pastors here get mad when they don't get their cut from the find," says Francisco a court official.' "

Full Story: Catch of the day: Cocaine

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95