The Management Of Crime
On the surface, it seems like the Nicaraguan government is doing quite a bit to fight the drug war and that Bluefields is a place of perdition. But reality is more complicated.
Cocaine’s Influence on Nicaragua’s Miskito Coast
Nicaragua — the largest country in Central America — has a lengthy coastline on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. With its remote location, Bluefields is well placed to serve as a pit stop along the corridor where drugs travel from the South American producers to U.S. consumers. What’s more, the cocaine moving through Nicaragua’s territory represents a higher share of GDP than any other Central American country, which in the words of the U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime, should give traffickers greater leverage to both sow more corruption and foment violence. Instead, like the rest of Nicaragua, Bluefields is an outlier. For instance, its murder rate is relatively low. According to numbers compiled by the Mexican think tank The Citizen Council for Public Security and Penal Justice, San Pedro Sula in Honduras is the murder capital of the world with a homicide rate of 169 intentional homicides per 100,000 people; Belize City has a murder rate of 105. According to Nicaraguan government data, Bluefields has a homicide rate of 42 — just a touch lower than that of Detroit.
About the Approach to Drug Trafficking in Nicaragua
The money quote: “Nicaragua administers, manages its organized crime,”
This is the best article I’ve found describing the approach Nicaragua takes to the so-called “drug war” and it makes all the sense in the world to me now. When I first learned about this approach to Drug Trafficking from Nicaragua Insiders, it sounds so wrong to someone raised up on the typical propoganda! When I heard:
“Because in Nicaragua, there is only one mafia,” Orozco says. “And that mafia controls the entire national territory.”
When asked who that mafia is, Orozco laughs nervously, delivering a roundabout answer before finally saying, “When I say that Nicaragua manages organized crime, I mean that the business deals are made with representatives from the state.”
In other words, Nicaragua essentially regulates the drug trade.
To understand this better, one can look at the results, which show that in comparison with Mexico and the other Central American countries, Nicaragua has maintained a low level of violent crime. So if it works, who are we to judge? As always, comments welcome!