The origin of the following story is a local fisherman, name unknown.

One night last week, the fisherman floated in the middle of the Sierpe River in his small dugout canoe, holding two lines in the water. He had his anchor out, the tide was high and fishing had been good. It was nine o’clock at night and totally dark; no moon and cloudy – not even starlight.

Suddenly, a huge boat appeared out of the darkness and glided straight toward the fisherman. The boat was fiberglass, about five meters long and two meters wide, with a strong, broad bow in front and two two-hundred horsepower outboard motors in the back. The giant boat slid up close to the fisherman’s little canoe and they drifted side by side.

The fisherman reported there were several passengers and the captain in the big boat, and each passenger carried some sort of automatic rifle. The fisherman noticed one passenger wore a complicated headset and he recognized an infra-red device, which explained how they had found him in the pitch blackness.

The captain of this spooky war boat spoke up and apologized to the fisherman for “this intrusion,” then he asked politely where they were and which way was Dominical. (From the captain’s accent, the fisherman guessed he was Colombian.)

The fisherman was shocked and terrified, and blurted out an honest answer. “This is the Boca Rio Sierpe. Dominical is about fifty kilometers north.”

The captain thanked the fisherman and again apologized – “perdón la molestia.” The big boat turned around slowly and drifted back into the blackness, heading out the Boca.

I know these sorts of folks are around – the Other Side in the “war on drugs.” Several drug boats have been discovered in and around the Boca Rio Sierpe, and elsewhere in the southern zone. The Peninsula de Osa sits adjacent to one of the most heavily traveled drug-smuggling routes in the world.

But we “civilians” have nothing to do with this “war on drugs.” At night, the lights at our place are usually the only lights on the Boca, which advertise our presence and location. Occasionally, I feel paranoid about this.

The only people benefiting from this “drug war” are the traffickers and the “anti-drug” forces. Meanwhile, as happens in any “war,” civilians are caught up in the middle.


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