Hands Up: This Is A Stickup!

Araia Sloan.

January- 22-2004-Once again, we, Costeńos, are getting, excuse my language, the “shitty end of the stick.” And it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For over 100 years we have been taken advantage of by the governments regardless of their political affiliations or ideologies. We have been marginalized and exploited― the stigma branded subjugated peoples worldwide. We are no exception. Our history shows it and perhaps it will for time to come, if not for eternity, if we do nothing about it. This is not a complex issue; rather, it’s quite simple. The answers and solutions are within reach: We have to take control of our own destiny. Autonomy has been a compassionate gesture, a fine script for its readers, but even that has been handed down to us. How ironic and tragic! We’ve got the resources and the wealth, yet we are beggars.


It has been reported in the national media that tourism is now the number one commodity in Nicaragua. Revenue from tourism in the past year (150 million dollars) is almost twice as much as the coffee exports, and way ahead of beef, seafood, gold, etc.


One would think that the Caribbean coast would be benefiting from this revenue bonanza. It has a virgin ecosystem, islands, keys, lagoons, rivers, rainforest, i.e., the ideal conditions needed to generate jobs and improved the standard of living for its inhabitants. Ideally, it could be considered to be in a favorable position at the right time. But in actuality, it falls short of reaping any of the benefits tourism affords in contrast with the Pacific coast.


The southern region for its tens of thousands inhabitants boasts of 128 law enforcement officers. Corn Island, in particular, has three paid police officers and six volunteers. Recently, the islanders were told by the regional police chief not to hope because there is no money in the budget to provide any additional police presence. In other words, fend for yourself because the police can’t help you. Amazing isn’t it when we consider that the island is being plague by drug abuse and drug trafficking at the international level. Well, it’s even worst in Little Corn Island where there is no police at all even though they have made all necessary arrangements to house, feed, and pay them. The police on the big island are charged with the task of policing the little island as well―a kind of big brother protecting little brother without the support of a papá, mamá, uncle or aunt.

Then, how can the Costeńos benefit from the tourism boom? Don’t be fooled the boom is happening. They are telling us about it. The tourists, who arrive in the Pacific coast, are not told about the beauty of the Caribbean coast or its friendly people. Instead, they are purposely steered to San Juan del Sur, Catarina, Laguna de Apoyo, Mombacho, Selva Negra, El Crucero, Isletas de Granada and many others. On the other hand, there is Corn Island, Little Island, Pearl Lagoon, the keys, deep-sea fishing, etc. in the Caribbean coast. What is the difference? Is it because of the indigenous people (blacks, Indians) and Caribbean mestizos? What? I presume they would quickly point out that the Caribbean coast is drug-ridden and dangerous. Well, so is the Pacific coast and on a much larger scale.

I believe that the deliberate and consistent practice of marginalization, divide and rule, (Pacific coast vs. Caribbean coast) is a conscientious design to stifle the Costeńos just enough that we may continue to survive; and certainly, with no opportunities to rise above poverty and economic deprivation except for a selective few.

What do you think? How can you help? What can we do, together?

One thing I know, we’ve got to do something or we’ll continue to suffer under the yoke.



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