Trip Start Sep 15, 2005
11Trip End Nov 11, 2005
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Perhaps a bit of a history lesson will help put the politics in perspective. I will quote from the book Suriname Switi Sranan:
"The National Party of Suriname (NPS) made a strong case for independence that was backed by the Dutch government lead by Prime Minister Den Uyl
Hardly anyone reacted when a small group on non-commissioned officers took over the government after a conflict about the formation of a trade union. There was a brief moment of hope, even in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the incompetent 'civil government' led by strongman Desi Bouterse did nothing to improve the lot of the people: civil rights remained restricted and elections were constantly postponed. The men who staged the coup reacted ruthlessly when concerned union leaders, journalists and a number of intellectuals voiced their criticism; fifteen opponents of the coup were killed in Fort Zeelandia in December 1982.
The outrage in the country and abroad was un precedented. Foreign aid was suspended and the country slipped into international isolation. Several years later, the Bouterse administration came under threat from jungle commando's lead by Ronnie Brunswijk
Bouterse is said to be very charming and charismatic. People here either love him or hate him. Demonstrations are planned every two to three days to keep the pressure on the government for some sort of change.
The other thing that I have done recently is to visit the museum at Fort Amsterdam. I have included pictures of the canons, gun powder storage buildings, and the prison - . which didn't close under 1982. The Fort was built where the Suriname and Commiwijne River converge, and certainly would have been a good look out point. I will include a couple pictures of signs, and hopefully you can see the writing well enough to read the information.
Bye for now,