[QODLink]
Americas
Panama tribe in drug dilemma
Cocaine dumped by evading traffickers off Kuna Yala islands is tainting local way of life.
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2010 20:01 GMT


An indigenous tribe in the Kuna Yala Islands of Panama has found itself literally in the middle of a multi-billion dollar drug trafficking route.

The Kuna people earn their living mainly by farming and fishing off the Caribbean islands, as they have done for centuries.

But after smugglers in vessels commonly throw out blocks of cocaine into the waters as they try to evade capture, the stashes are often found by Kuna tribesmen who then sell them for huge profits.

Authorities say they have seen grave changes in Kuna's ways of life as a result of the cocaine influx.

Camilo Hackins, a local Kuna chief, told Al Jazeera: "Money from the illegal trade is a disease and we do not have a cure for it, it is threatening harmony for us, people want to get a lot of money and do little work."

Monica Villamizar reports from Panama.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list