Indeed, odd activities were rife on the Columbian Coast. The sky was teeming with helicopters and small planes. Survey crews were busy at work in the jungle scribbling out computations and hunched over their laptops. Rumour had it that a large American company was laying grandiose plans for the construction of a huge industrial plant. There were several dozen Yankee executives camping out in the jungle escorted by a squad of soldiers the junta had sent after having received bribes from the Yankees.
The local subsistence cannabis farmers were seeing their precious crop trampled by all the soldiers and Yankee executives. Several farmers had been evicted from their lands “in the national interest” said the local governor. Compensation payments they were receiving were ludicrously low as after all the local governor needed a cut! Squid had seen this process in play several times and knew it could only deteriorate. It was time to fight which was preferable to begging in Bogotá.
The locals were becoming increasingly angry voicing their opposition to this secret gringo project. Small demonstrations escalated into riots. One evening 6 American executives were gunned down in a bordello. The oh so far away central government in Bogotá were furious and declared martial law for the province. No doubt this was because the American government had threatened to send in the Marines “to protect the Yankee executives and the American way of life”. Serious steps were taken to stabilize the area.
Santa had yet to arrive but Squid managed the situation the best he could bolstered by ardent student Marxists. If only their mothers and father in Bogota knew what they were doing.
With the help of the students he unearthed some startling facts about why there were so many gringo businessmen around. The 4N Company had discovered that cocaine fortified scotch tape a hundred-fold and could also be used in their Mr. Mean cleaning solutions. Furthermore they were experimenting with marijuana in the hope that it would make racoon proof garbage bags. If these projects continued the profitable narcotic market could be destroyed putting thousands of subsistence farmers out of business.
The Yankee executive plans were therefore cruel but when had economic development ever benefitted the masses? Large scale industry would disrupt a way of life and cause havoc and misery for so many already living on the edge. The central government claimed that hundreds of jobs would be created but that was a lie. The plant was to be high tech and robotic and few jobs would be created. It was not that Squid was anti-industrial, he just wanted it controlled by the locals and not by some profit maniacs in Minnesota. A fight was brewing. The fight was against the corrupt military and the Yankee businessmen. Some of the Columbian generals believed that since they sipped bourbon the nation should have Schlitz rammed down their throats.
One could not deny there was a great demand for Columbia narcotics in the developed world. The trade had enriched a great many Columbians to the point that not even the central government had the power to control them and in any cases their bribes made many a general wealthy! On the Colombian coast smuggler’s co-operatives with receiving co-ops in the United States were displacing the great power of the Colombian drug lords and their American based gangs. The profits earned by the co-ops were used to improve the health of the poor in both the United States and in Colombia.
There was no sense in arguing with Pepe Liquita the President of Columbia as he was a large shareholder in 4N and a beneficiary of their bribes. Squid thought about the death and destruction caused to the poor and peasants in the English Industrial Revolution. Would it happen in Colombia?
How many knew the true social and economic impact of the 4N master plan. Julio, one of Squid’s students, advised perhaps pamphlets were in order to inform the peasants of the true state of affairs. Additionally local storytellers were enlisted to spread the word. The first pamphlet was short and to the point but it lacked the polish of government publications prepared by Madison Avenue public relations firms. The first pamphlet was entitled “What idiocy and what should be done”.