You couldn’t make it up – II – defending the ‘white lobster’

The following text box appears in the book as Box 9.5 (page 193).

In July 2010, the Nicaraguan Navy gave chase to a speed boat that turned out to be carrying 2,756 kilos of cocaine with a street value of US$125 million in the United States.[1] They eventually ran it to ground in Tasbapauni in the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS, by its Spanish initials). The occupants of the boat made off inland with the help of local people who, armed with machetes, clubs and in the case of one woman, a broom, threatened to attack the army if they removed the boat and its valuable cargo. This is a situation similar to one that occurred in Walpaisiksa in the Northern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) in December 2009 where two soldiers lost their lives.[2]

On the Caribbean coast, historically neglected by central government and with the highest indices of poverty in the country, for some time people have been living off the profits of the ‘white lobster’, as they call the bales of cocaine washed ashore. They are increasingly turning to drug traffickers for employment and social benefits.

The national press considered it worrying that a woman with a broom was prepared to face the army to protect a consignment of drugs and speculated about what the same woman might do if given a machine gun by the drug smugglers. After a tense stand-off, the army managed to persuade local people to hand over the boat with no bloodshed.

Reproduced with the permission of CODA International and of Gill Holmes from her three monthly Nicaragua Current Affairs Report to CODA International, May – July 2010.

[1] Figures taken from Envío magazine, No. 341, August 2010, p.4.
[2] Gill Holmes, Nicaragua Current Affairs Report for CODA International, November 2009 – January 2010.