Monday, August 10, 2015


Formerly known as Dutch Guiana, and locked between Guyana and French Guiana on the north-east coast of South America, it became independent in 1975, after which it endured the normal saga of coups and civil wars, with a typically unpleasant despot name Desi Bouterse running the place in brutal manner, from 1980 to 1987 as the head of the miilitary, since 2010 as a theoretical civilian.

A land made up of former African slaves, former Indian and Indonesian indentured serfs, and indigenous South Americans, the opportunities for mutual detestation are multitudinous, and have been taken full advantage of, with almost all the political parties drawn from and supported by their own ethnic group, and virtually no desire by anyone to get on with anybody else's group.

Among Bouterse's major contributions to the enhancement of human civilisation and the betterment of the human condition, are the "December Murders" of 1982, for which of course he denies any responsibility, and then the Moiwana massacre of 1986, for which he cannot deny responsibility, as he was the senior officer who ordered the Jungle Commando into the town, where it killed thirty-five of the inhabitants, mostly women and children, as part of the campaign against "insurgents" (governments always have the advantage of being officially legitimate, so that anyone trying to rid a country of a despot must perforce be "insurgent", "terrorist" and "criminal", until it becomes their turn to be legitimate). The government claims to be investigating this incident, though the chief inspector of police was murdered while doing so. Bouterse also found himself convicted by the Dutch court in 2000, on charges of trafficking huge quantities of cocaine, but he denies this charge, claiming the star witness was bribed by Dutch officials. A Europol arrest warrant is still active, but he was elected civilian President in 2010, and so enjoys immunity; not that he needs immunity; the government passed an amendment to its "Immunity Law" in 2012, extending the period to include the "December Murders". Nice if you can get away with it!

Marks for: 10 (for the sea turtles)

Marks against: 35

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