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The soldiers and police were going from house to house in search of Coke
May 27, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe

73 dead in Kingston, Jamaica after four days of fighting resulting from the search for alleged drug dealer Christopher 'Dudus' Coke. He remains at large.

The United States has been pressing for extradition since August of 2009. Jamaican prime minister Bruce Golding, elected with the help of Coke, stalled for nine months claiming the evidence was obtained illegally before issuing a warrant for his arrest on May 17th. Coke's supporters in the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood of Kingston have been stockpiling weapons and ammunition since the extradition was announced and the raid on May 24th set off four days of violence leaving 3 police and at least 70 civilians dead, 28 (police) wounded, and more than 500 people arrested. It is believed Coke may be hiding in the nearby slum of Denham Town where his supporters are still barricading the streets.
posted by Jawn (62 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy shit.
posted by GuyZero at 3:52 PM on May 27, 2010


I should note that I have no real knowledge of the situation aside from what can be found in the linked articles. I first heard about it today and found it interested and so read up on it a bit more. I'm posting it here partly because I'm sure there are Mefites with more firsthand knowledge and I'd love to hear more of the inside story and background.
posted by Jawn at 3:54 PM on May 27, 2010


Must be some good Coke.
posted by Catblack at 3:56 PM on May 27, 2010


Wow, I wonder if the police knew what they were in for before the raid?
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:58 PM on May 27, 2010


I was going to do a post on this, but you beat me to it. Some serious shit going down, like war-in-the-streets serious. One of the dead in Tivoli Gardens was a 7 month old baby.

Hey, any idea why this isn't being covered hardly at all in the US media, especially since the US is the one trying to extradite Dudus and thus directly involved? The only place I've been getting updates about this is TuffChin.com, a Jamaica-based page that mostly covers dancehall and reggae.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:01 PM on May 27, 2010


I've actually seen it covered quite a bit, even on Gawker.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 4:07 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


especially since the US is the one trying to extradite Dudus and thus directly involved?

I think you answered your own question there.

The CBC report today suggests Coke may not even be in Jamaica anymore.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:07 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


i was gonna make some sort of joke about the War on Drugs, but, fuck it. this shit is getting real old.
posted by Mach5 at 4:07 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, the US State Department claimed the other day that the Jamaican PM is a "known affiliate" of Dudus, which he denied vehemently. I don't know enough about Jamaican politics to speculate if he actually is or not.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:08 PM on May 27, 2010


Damn.
posted by chunking express at 4:09 PM on May 27, 2010


I heard, maybe a week ago, a snarky reference to the guy's name (Coke, get it? Like cocaine? Haha.), then I saw a one-line AP headline about 73 dead in Jamaica. I was kind of surprised. I thought hurricanes and earthquakes tended to get big news coverage these days, so I clicked the link. Jesus.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:09 PM on May 27, 2010


The Kojo Nnamdi show discusses it.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:09 PM on May 27, 2010


From the OP's Guardian link:

Until recently he enjoyed substantial protection from the ruling Labour party and the Jamaican prime minister, Bruce Golding, whose local constituency is Tivoli Gardens.

Pressure from the Obama administration on the Jamaican government to prove it is serious about combating drugs has forced Golding's hand. Hence the order to arrest Coke, and the ensuing violence intended to keep him out of jail.

posted by stinkycheese at 4:10 PM on May 27, 2010


Well, "known affiliate" made it sound like the PM was actually part of his drug gang. I don't think he can really dispute that he was on his payroll or at least trading favors with him. Like, you wouldn't describe the judges Vito Corleone paid off as "known affiliates", right?
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:13 PM on May 27, 2010


Hey, any idea why this isn't being covered hardly at all in the US media, especially since the US is the one trying to extradite Dudus and thus directly involved?

I've seen it on CNN, NYTimes, Newshour... plenty of coverage in the US. Heard about it every day.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:13 PM on May 27, 2010


Yeah, it sounds as though Coke is a pretty big player in the area an it'd be unlikely for any politician to get elected from that area without his support. I just wonder if the ties go further than that. It seems likely given Golding's reluctance to issue an arrest warrant, but I certainly wouldn't discount his claims that evidence was obtained illegally, this is the US we're talking about after all.
posted by Jawn at 4:16 PM on May 27, 2010


What a fucking pointless waste of lives and resources.
posted by empath at 4:25 PM on May 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Pressure from the Obama administration on the Jamaican government to prove it is serious about combating drugs has forced Golding's hand. Hence the order to arrest Coke, and the ensuing violence intended to keep him out of jail.

This is sad. They should know better. What purpose is served by locking this guy up in the U.S.? All that would happen normally is some possibly murderous violence in the struggle to replace him in Jamaica and $40,000 or so per year spent by us to keep him locked up. Now, we've got that plus the dozens of deaths in the unsuccessful arrest attempt.

Trying to make another government prove that it is "serious" about drug enforcement is an absurd, unproductive policy that can't possibly achieve anything good. Mexico's attempt to be "serious" is killing thousands of people every year. And for what? We live in a world where kids will choke each other to get high if they can't obtain drugs-- do people really think with humans being creatures like that demand will ever go away?

Moreover, you can't force a country to reduce corruption-- so we should spend money on efforts that actually do something positive rather than this counterproductive nonsense. At least if you spend money on something like early childhood education, it can't backfire and kill people-- and done effectively, we know that it reduces poverty and addiction risk.
posted by Maias at 4:29 PM on May 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


"Drugs 'er bad, 'nkay? Don't do drugs, 'nkay?"

Sheesh, the worst thing about drugs is the enforcement of the laws against them. Talk about a self-fulfilling whatever.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:37 PM on May 27, 2010


Coke, also known as "general" and "president," allegedly relied on a band of gunmen to keep control of Tivoli Gardens. He solidified his authority by dispensing charity and street justice in an area with little government presence...Vaz, the information minister, said bosses like Coke have been able to thrive in part because Jamaica has failed the desperately poor slums. "The necessary financial commitments have never been provided in these neighbourhoods. That vacuum has been filled by these criminal elements," he said.

Coke is apparently a strong-willed, resourceful entrepreneur who has risen to his relatively lofty station in life against great odds through hard work and skillful application of his God-given talents. His continued success has attracted the animosity of the current power structure, which seeks to make an example of him and his loyal supporters. His position of authority in Jamaica is yet another manifestation of private interests providing effective solutions where government has failed.

If they do extradite Coke to the U.S., the Tea Party should stand him for citizenship and run him as a libertarian candidate.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:37 PM on May 27, 2010 [16 favorites]


Won't someone immediately fill Coke's vacuum if he is detained and then imprisoned? Probably with all of the resulting battles for territory and power? Maybe I'm just letting the Wire influence my perception of real life.

Regardless it's a terrible tragedy. I wonder how the resort-industry is being effected, if at all even.
posted by codacorolla at 4:44 PM on May 27, 2010


Yeah, I've heard it all over NPR and BBC World News.
posted by boo_radley at 4:52 PM on May 27, 2010


. I just wonder if the ties go further than that.

Given that Coke has been getting big government contracts through his consulting company (no, really -- you can't make this stuff up), and the government has been paying a law firm to fight the extradition charges on his behalf (again, truth stranger than fiction), then yes, I think you could perhaps go way out on a limb and speculate that the ties between him and Golding run very, very deep.

You can see a the don/politician relationship in the (fun, very violent, and helpfully subtitled) Jamaican movie Third World Cop. Hell, for that matter you can see the early version of it in The Harder They Come.

Golding has been famously enmeshed in the garrison violence and corruption for decades. My heart goes out to the people caught in the crossfire -- one can only hope that this latest spate of violence will finally cause a political opening for an alternative to the don/politician system, but the chances aren't good. The same violence (with the same helicopters and tanks in the streets) has happened in Kingston before, and afterwards everything returns to the same patterns.
posted by Forktine at 4:55 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The ties are generational. (via: Wikipedia copyright infringement page).
posted by el io at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2010


Sheesh, the worst thing about drugs is the enforcement of the laws against them. Talk about a self-fulfilling whatever.

"Michael Christopher Coke was born March 13, 1969. His father, Lester Coke, later became the leader of the Shower Posse gang, which earned its name from the "shower" of automatic gunfire it often sprayed into its victims' bodies."

"The Shower Posse, which the U.S. government says holds influence with Jamaica’s governing Labour Party and is responsible for more than 1,400 drug-related killings..."

So, yeah, jerk that knee all you want, but despite whatever good works this guy may have done for his community, he's the head of a fucking army of dangerous psychopaths, not a peace love and pot hippie cruelly oppressed by the evil guvmint.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 5:21 PM on May 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is his name pronounced "dude-us" or "doo-doos?"
posted by Frank Grimes at 5:30 PM on May 27, 2010


Is his name pronounced "dude-us" or "doo-doos?"

On NPR they were pronouncing it "Duh-Duss".
posted by wildcrdj at 5:41 PM on May 27, 2010


So, yeah, jerk that knee all you want, but despite whatever good works this guy may have done for his community, he's the head of a fucking army of dangerous psychopaths, not a peace love and pot hippie cruelly oppressed by the evil guvmint.

Legalize drugs for adults and all of a sudden there is no "fucking army of dangerous psychopaths", but hey, let's keep jerking that knee. In other news: Prohibition gave rise to armies of dangerous psychopaths, corruption at all levels of society and countless victims, and ultimately failed; amazingly the exact same scenario with the exact same dynamic and outcomes has been playing out in countless other countries - including Jamaica. There's a lesson here somewhere... let's look for it, perhaps we can find it once knees stop jerking.
posted by VikingSword at 5:43 PM on May 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


Nothing, I don't presume to speak for Mach5, but I don't think he was claiming that Coke is a peace-loving hero of the underclass or anything like that. Rather, the point I think he and many others are hinting at is that the murderous gang violence that characterizes the drug trade is because of the prohibition of drugs, not in spite of it.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:48 PM on May 27, 2010


Legalize drugs for adults and all of a sudden there is no "fucking army of dangerous psychopaths",

Bullshit. There's always a fucking army of dangerous psychopaths. Legalize drugs, and those same people will find the next illegal thing to make immense profits on and kill people over.

After all, as you rightly note, that's exactly what happened with Prohibition.

Unless you're suggesting that everything in world should be totally legal, which, I dunno, good luck with that one.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 5:52 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


No offense, Jawn, but this is kind of a shitty use of the "eponysterical" tag.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:53 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bullshit. There's always a fucking army of dangerous psychopaths. Legalize drugs, and those same people will find the next illegal thing to make immense profits on and kill people over.

After all, as you rightly note, that's exactly what happened with Prohibition.


No there isn't always a fucking army of dangerous psychopaths. And you amazingly managed to miss the less on Prohibition - it's a gigantic failure that doesn't eliminate the use of the substance, criminalizes a large part of the population and leads to organized crime and corruption. Once Prohibition was abolished, the gangs rapidly declined - that's the lesson. The gangs declined. When we cracked down on marijuana and eventually escalated the War On Drugs, what happened? New gangs arose. And the same dynamic of criminalization of a huge part of the population, corruption and complete failure to stop usage anyway. There is no doubt whatsoever that if we legalize drugs, organized crime would decline once more, exactly as it did after Prohibition was abolished. Gangs are a symptom, they are not the origin of the disease. If all we do is apply medievally ineffective "medicine" to the symptoms without addressing the disease, we're engaging in the equivalent of bloodletting (in this case quite literal) - the treatment is liable to kill the patient even faster than the disease.

There are many studies showing the noxious effects of the War On Drugs - perhaps it's time there was a more serious discussion in the political sphere. Until then, this kind of tragedy is inevitable and predictable.
posted by VikingSword at 6:09 PM on May 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


Given that legalizing drugs is, well, off the table, I think that a more practical "solution" is warranted. Bringing Mr. Coke and his gang to justice sounds like a good start.
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:18 PM on May 27, 2010


Given that legalizing drugs is, well, off the table?

I don't know how you can say that when CA has pot legalization on the ballot, and its polling at better than 50%
posted by empath at 6:22 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given that legalizing drugs is, well, off the table, I think that a more practical "solution" is warranted. Bringing Mr. Coke and his gang to justice sounds like a good start.

A good start to what? Ending drug running? A solution to what? Human nature? The demand is there. Arresting Mr. Coke will not lessen the demand by one iota. Bringing Mr. Coke to justice will not lessen the supply - there are countless people waiting to take his place, and countless other avenues by which the supply will reach demand, uninterrupted.

We can certainly bring Mr. Coke to justice for the sake of the principle, but let's not fool ourselves that it does anything to provide a solution. This rather reminds me of the story of the great Persian king Xerxes. When his flotilla of invading ships was destroyed in a storm, Xerxes was so exasperated with the god of the sea, so Herodotus tells us, that he commanded his slaves to whip the sea with chains. We'll clap Mr. Coke in chains, and he'll be whipped, but it'll be equally effective in finding a "solution".
posted by VikingSword at 6:29 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


How long has it been being covered, though? I saw the "73 Dead" headline in a bunch of places including the NYT today, but this has been going on for weeks now, and as recently as about a week ago all I could find was a paragraph buried in the international section of CNN.com. It could be that I'm just not plugged in enough, but it seems like this should have been big news as soon as Dudus holed himself up and a state of emergency was declared, which was a couple weeks ago now I think.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:39 PM on May 27, 2010


shit! another goddam country where i'll have to pretend to be a canadian
posted by kitchenrat at 6:49 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christopher 'Dudus' Coke

Wait. A drug dealer with the last name Coke needs a nickname?
posted by clearly at 7:07 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I heard about it last Saturday from Bunny Wailer on 'Tropical Riddims' on WORT.
At that time Dudus was holed up in Tivoli Gardens.
posted by Floydd at 7:13 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Certainly ending drug prohibition won't end all crime by any means-- just like ending alcohol prohibition didn't. But ending alcohol prohibition did produce a significant drop in violence, a massive drop in deaths from alcohol poisoning and it dealt a serious blow to organized crime.

If you give people legal ways to make money that offer dignity and opportunity, you reduce crime-- it's not a static thing like a static number of psychopaths who need work being evil. Corruption is not a static value either-- if you create trusting people and trustworthy institutions and have low inequality, you have less corruption.

Maybe about 1% of the population is genetically psychopathic no matter what you do: those raised in violent homes will become violent criminals, those raised in calm middle or upper class homes will become corrupt corporate executives or other nonviolent exploitative types.

The rest of the psychopaths out there-- the vast majority of them, in fact-- are created simply by abuse, neglect and the stress handed down over generations of poverty and/or abuse. Interrupt this cycle and you will reduce crime and addiction rates without producing a "job opening" to be filled by other psychopaths.

Of course, it's a lot easier to destroy trust and increase inequality than it is to do the opposite-- but if you look at high trust/low inequality countries they have much less crime, much less addiction, longer life expectancy (among rich and poor alike), better health, lower infant mortality and higher happiness.
posted by Maias at 7:47 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


How long has it been being covered, though?
Depends on what you mean by covered, and also I think your timeline is a little long. I remember hearing whispers or brief mentions of it on a couple of the news sites I frequent around a week ago (the warrant was issued on the 17th). But those were just little blurbs. No one really started caring until the whole state of emergency/raid thing, which only started on Monday(?), and media coverage has been extant and picking up since then.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 7:57 PM on May 27, 2010


I don't think ending drug prohibition will reduce the number of violent psychopaths, but it will reduce the profit incentive for ganging together, and also the amount of money flow that they can control to buy automatic weapons and military hardware and bribe police and government officials.

I'm hoping that some bright young bioscientist will invent a plant retrovirus to turn kudzu or eucalyptus into some kind of supercoke with no chemical refining process needed. That way the cartels would be destroyed, and the war on drugs would at least have the side benefit of destroying invasive plant species.

Wait. A drug dealer with the last name Coke needs a nickname?

Well he wouldn't want people to think he's not diversified into heroin, crank, and pot.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:33 PM on May 27, 2010


What really bothers me about this is that Obama is, out of all US presidents, the most knowledgeable about the BS of the War on Drugs. And yet this is happening ... I would love to know to forces at work behind this.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 9:02 PM on May 27, 2010


See chickens, roost, coming home to.
posted by telstar at 9:47 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Shower Posse supplanted "Cocaine Cowboys" as a fear-inducing buzzword in South Florida in the 80's. They "showered" a dancehall not far from my house one night. Coke's father took over the gang from this guy, who recently died (of natural causes).
posted by bonefish at 9:54 PM on May 27, 2010


Bringing Mr. Coke to justice will not lessen the supply - there are countless people waiting to take his place, and countless other avenues by which the supply will reach demand, uninterrupted.

More to the point, arresting (or killing, as happened to his father) Coke won't do anything useful in Jamaica. There's a system in place that's been established over many decades: dons help politicians retain control of closed ("garrison") communities; in exchange the dons are given freedom and sometimes even state support in their criminal enterprises; when a don gets too powerful the politician will use the state security apparatus to remove the don. Rinse and repeat endlessly. Killing one don (or arresting one politician, which does happen occasionally) changes nothing.

Notice how on the Wikipedia link Tivoli Gardens has been the scene of repeated large-scale security forces incursions? That's because it's unusually insular and defensive, even by the standards of garrison communities, and has been at the center of bigger fights over political control on the island. Tivoli Gardens was established by Edward Seaga (a now-retired, very powerful politician) back in the 1960s; an existing neighborhood was bulldozed, the residents evicted, public housing built with public money, and only Seaga's supporters were allowed to move in. That political homogeneity was maintained by local dons with Seaga's cooperation -- if you weren't willing to support Seaga, you didn't get to live there and get the free/cheap rent and other goodies. After Seaga retired (the current violence is interfering with his 80th birthday celebration, ironically enough), Bruce Golding took over the district, retaining the structure established under Seaga.

So in an inner city landscape that is predominately single-story, you have a community centered on a grouping of multi-story apartment buildings, and one that is incredibly tight-knit. Those apartment buildings provide excellent snipers' nests, and (being full of cooperative civilians) are tremendously difficult for the security forces to assault. Look at that area in google maps: Tivoli Gardens is bordered on one side by a cemetery (also hard to assault, endless hiding places for guns, easy to use to get away) and snuggles up on the south to the main Kingston ports. Hold on -- if I were to want a base for importing guns and exporting drugs, maybe I'd want to be right next to the docks, right? Hmmm.

Now compare Tivoli Gardens to Trenchtown (as in "No woman no cry"), a half mile or so north. Check out what a more typical Kingston inner-city neighborhood looks like. That's a maze of flimsy tin and board structures -- fire a high-powered rifle there and it'll go through the entire block before stopping. The concrete apartment buildings of Tivoli Gardens are comparatively impenetrable -- you could hole up there and have an all-day shoot-out with the police and army and escape unscathed.

There are deep, deep roots to the interlinking of violence and political control in Kingston, going back through colonization to slavery. What you don't have are easy answers and quick solutions. The problems there are intertwined with drug violence and gun sales in the US, too -- the drugs have to go somewhere, and the guns have to come from somewhere. Solve things here, and you'll find things much, much easier there.

Finally, something I studied in graduate school turns out to be relevant on MeFi!
posted by Forktine at 9:57 PM on May 27, 2010 [18 favorites]


This is a bad scene with big losers...in the US.

In JA, Dudus Coke is important. Let me explain.

If you are in Tivoli Gardens, there is nothing that happens that DC doesn't know about. There are no criminals in Tivoli Gardens. People have jobs. People are tended.

Am I being clear? Allow me to elaborate. If you get robbed in TG, you go to DC or DC's people (who ARE DC), and you explain what happened. In a VERY short period of time, your stuff returns.

No wait, you may not "get" it. But allow me to go on.

Let's say you mispark. Let's say you lose your wallet. Let's say you don't have food for your baby. Let's say you get hurt. All that is managed by DC for thousands of people. No TENS of thousands. I exaggerate not a lick. Meaning not at all. DC is a boss and he makes certain how you be live is cool.

Now there be some other stuff but in JA not so much. Him no make law. US make law. And law burns US.

Now the US wants to run it all. Obama no. Obama cool, mon. So who cause problems? Who WANT problem, mon? Babylon Problems.

BP, mon.
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:00 PM on May 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


More to the point, arresting (or killing, as happened to his father) Coke won't do anything useful in Jamaica.

True enough, but his eventual capture and trial/execution will be plastered all over the newspaper headlines. Police/Military will be portrayed as heroes and funding for more men under arms, bigger guns, more tanks, newer airplanes, and the latest high tech equipment will be secured, much to the favorable bottom line of US firms supplying same. And no, absolutely no change in the overall drug trade in Jamaica will be recorded or even asked about by the ridiculous sycophant "press".
posted by telstar at 10:27 PM on May 27, 2010


This reminds of two movies, Ghosts of Cite Soleil which is a documentary about a somewhat similar situation in Haiti and Shottas a terrible, but entertaining movie about Jamaican gangsters with a similar plot point. This real life situation is actually way more fucked up than the ridiculous over the top Shottas, which says something.
posted by youthenrage at 11:19 PM on May 27, 2010


Also Mike Mongo and Forktine both summed up the whole "Don" thing perfectly.
posted by youthenrage at 11:24 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently this book by Laurie Gunst is the best available on the political gangs of Jamaica, their background and the move into drugs; in a review here she's quoted as saying:
"Jamaica became yet another theatre of the world-wide cold war. The islands contortions were a claustrophobic replay of those in Chile, in Nicaragua, in a dozen other outposts of strife where the super-powers played out the East-West death-dance. This drama not only went on in the corridors of the State Department, the World Bank and the IMF, it played constantly in the rubbly streets of Kingston where Manley and Seaga armed their rival posses to maintain control of political constituencies in a tangle of slums and shanty towns."
posted by Abiezer at 11:26 PM on May 27, 2010


You folks seem to be stopping at the whole US-pressurizing-third-world-country-to-fight-drugs thing, but I found the following bits rather salient here:-

a) Jamaica has tried to attack and take control over the neighbourhood several times in the past without much success. The only difference is now is that the scale of violence, seemingly unexpected.

b) This is the PM's constituency and yet, it seems to me that he's possibly less popular, and less powerful, than this Coke guy:
In these communities, where the politician once held sway, the order has shifted in favour of the 'don' who, now in independent command of resources - however acquired - has superseded the State as community benefactor
Drugs may be the reason why Coke became big, and for sure, he may suffer setbacks if drugs were legalized. Drugs, however, aren't the reason why people like Coke pop up in the first place; that's clearly urban blight and an acute _lack_ of governmental services (and consequently writ). Coke's services here aren't merely to supply drugs, but to become an extra-constitutional source of power. Waste of lives apart, I don't see how this can be pointless waste of resources; the state is merely trying to re-assert its authority here.
posted by the cydonian at 11:31 PM on May 27, 2010


Imagine if you legalized these substances, took the money you earn from the taxes, the savings from the empty prisons and the dough that you would have spent so the cops can gun down some people and spent that cash on health and education. Wouldn't that be a miserable way to loose the war on drugs?
posted by dazed_one at 12:24 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guardian:
To the residents of Tivoli Gardens, the poor west side of Kingston where his gang has immense support, he is the benefactor who provides them with food, acts as mediator in disputes and even sends their children to school. They call him Presi, Bossy, Shortman or, most commonly, Dudus.
You aren't going to step into his part of town with a handful of cops and walk out with the Godfather.
posted by pracowity at 12:48 AM on May 28, 2010


Mongo and Forktine say it all. The 'enforcers' in Tivoli Gardens work for the politicians, it's a symbiotic relationship. Every so often a PM makes noises about getting rid of the gunmen, or beefing up the gun laws, but it's all marketing. Drugs, guns, politics...all parts of the same operation. It's really sad how bad it's got in JA. It's still one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
posted by Duug at 12:54 AM on May 28, 2010


Ending the war on drugs would do us a whole lot of good, but I really think people are setting their expectations a little too high.

The reason that there is a Coke in Jamaica is because the government is poor, under-funded and open for corruption. Making drugs legal is not going to change this. That is only one aspect of Cokes business. The government contracts, gun-running and general favor-trading will all continue with Coke or someone else.

In review, also what the cydonian said.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:07 AM on May 28, 2010


Trinidad is being figured as the new Caribbean Narco State. Corruption is endemic in the Caribbean. Here is an interesting pdf on Narco Criminality in the Caribbean, subtitled Global problems in small places. It is hardly surprising given their geographical situation that this is happening. Where there is Demand so supply will get through with USA consuming 300 tons or 50% of global cocaine production. But you know it's USA so who cares when everyone else gets fucked. Prohibition does not work.
Look at the tax opportunities.. You could generate more money for more wars instead..
posted by adamvasco at 2:37 AM on May 28, 2010


Lauri Gunst's book is good. Almost more compelling reading, though, are the reports produced by special commissions in Jamaica: the 1997 Report on Political Tribalism and the 2002 Committee on Crime and Violence (those links should go to pdfs; you can also read them via google's quickview feature).
posted by Forktine at 6:22 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Jamaican Gov't is in bed with criminals? We Americans would never tolerate that kind of overt corruption here in the US.
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:55 AM on May 28, 2010


The fact that this guy's name is Coke makes it very confusing when reading articles - like the president being "elected with the help of Coke" - makes me think of Coca Cola instead. That's all I really have to say about this... I was in Jamaica on vacation in February, visited a rural school/daycare there, it made me very sad to see how little those kids have.
posted by antifuse at 11:05 AM on May 28, 2010


Check out the video in this link for a sense of what the community looks like, and how some of the residents feel.
posted by Forktine at 11:13 PM on May 28, 2010


Jamaica’s Alleged Drug Kingpin Nabbed — in a Dress

"He allegedly started out with millions of dollars, command of an international drug ring and his own private army. He ends it wearing a wig and a dress.

Jamaican police arrested refuted drug dealer Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke on drug trafficking charges Monday after a monthlong standoff that claimed the lives of 76 people, mostly residents of the Kingston slum where Coke had his stronghold. He was reportedly being taken, at his request, to the U.S. Embassy by activist minister Rev. Al Miller to surrender to U.S. authorities...
"
posted by Kevin Street at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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