National Public Radio (NPR)
By Eyder Peralta
Back in the day, the city of Bluefields inspired poets. In truth, it should be paradise, because it sits in an enviable position along Nicaragua's Caribbean coast.
But as history unfolded, Bluefields became a forgotten city, cut off from the rest of the country by a vast jungle and different culture. As you walk its main street, you feel a struggle: Utility cables crisscross the streets, framing buildings, making them look like they're sagging under the weight of history. It rains so much that when paint peels off a piece of concrete, it doesn't take long for moss to set in. And no matter where you are, you're hit by the stench of open sewers.
Eight out of 10 people in this city are unemployed, yet there are stores everywhere and business seems brisk.
Roberto Campbell, a storekeeper who's hanging out on a wooden cart, says this place depends fully on the the drug trade.
As the sun sinks just below the horizon, Jorge Sandoval strolls across a dusty street.
He's a small man in his 50s, who runs volunteer patrols. The neighborhood is poor. The houses are cobbled together out of leftover wood and pieces of metal.
Two years ago, Sandoval says, these streets used to be desolate and controlled by gangs.