Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Finders Keepers

A fascinating, unintended consequence of our "War on Drugs":

At first glance, Bluefields in Nicaragua looks like any other rum-soaked, Rastafarian-packed, hammock-infested Caribbean paradise. But Bluefields has a secret.

People here don't have to work. Every week, sometimes every day, 35kg sacks of cocaine drift in from the sea. The economy of this entire town of 50,000 tranquil souls is addicted to cocaine.

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 our Navy or Coast Guard starts tracking these small boats, the cocaine smugglers end up dumping their loads overboard. Where do those wash up? On the beaches at Bluefields.

There is no oversight from the central government and the local population governs themselves. But this is the best part:
With literally tonnes of cocaine buried in the hills, stashed in yards and piled up around town, why doesn't the Colombian mafia storm into these remote communities and repossess their coke bales by coercion or brute force?

"Hell no," says Peter, a local businessman. "The Miskito [local Indians] are guerrillas. They have been through war. They have AK-47s and up."
This is an unintended consequence of the drug war because our strategy in fighting it artificially inflates the price of cocaine. If all drugs were decriminalized, there wouldn't be any incentive for the cartels to exist at all. But then this anarchist paradise wouldn't exist at all either.

Pilfered from Lew Rockwell

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