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.' "