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