Nicaragua, taking different response to drug trade, reduces violence
Take Two | October 30th, 2014, 8:45am
ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images
Forensic personnel prepare about 400kg of cocaine to be burnt in Tegucigalpa on May 11, 2012.
The drug was seized this week in a joint operation, between the Police and the Army in La Mosquita, on the border with Nicaragua.
Nicaragua is Central America’s largest country. It has a long coastline that runs along both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
That makes it a prime location for the drug trade going from South America north to the U.S.
But unlike many of its neighbors, Nicaragua has taken a different approach to drug violence. And though poverty is still a major issue, it’s managed to avoid the high levels of violence in places like Mexico or nearby Honduras.
Read the rest here, via Nicaragua, taking different response to drug trade, reduces violence | Take Two | 89.3 KPCC.
NPR has been doing some very good reporting on Nicaragua in the last few months, several of which I have posted and commented on this website. This report discusses the different approach that Nicaragua has tried to take which is based on reducing violence and homicides rather then using the “mano duro” (hard fist) against drug traffickers and their minions.
On the positive side, I do believe that this approach has helped a great deal to keep the level of violence down in this country. On the, well maybe not negative side per-se but I can’t say it is a positive, I’ve heard some stories recently from people who know about these things first hand. While it isn’t a real surprise to hear that this sort of thing goes on, it is a bit of shock to have confirmation from reliable sources as to the nefarious dealings that goes on.
Nicaragua Insiders tell me that the whole approach is basically one that says the police (and probably the army too) are directly involved in at least some of the drug running, especially on the Caribbean coast. For example, there have been times when a plane full of drugs is going to land and the Army has been tipped off about the landing so they lie in wait in the bushes waiting for the landing to arrest the pilot and anyone who comes around to collect the merchandise. Lo and behold, a convoy of brand-new Toyota Hilux trucks rolls in, full of police. Are they there to arrest the bad guys? No, they are there to pick up the drugs and take it to Managua for further transport up to North America. The Hilux trucks come to to the landing site in plainclothes so-to-speak and after loading the merchandise, they put lights and signage on the vehicles.
Sometimes the Army decides to take on the Police and there are casualties. Other times, they decide they are outgunned and no one wants to die that day so they let them go on their merry way.
After all, who is going to stop police cars as they go back to Managua loaded down with the goods from South America? That’s right, nobody! Big picture, the local PTB’s (you know who they are!) don’t like rivals. There is one organized crime syndicate here and they will tolerate no competition!