Posted on | juni 20, 2012 | No Comments
The Following YouTube footage contains street reactions taped after May 25 2010 elections in Suriname.
Optimism reverberates as the so called Main Street individuals count their blessings; They are happy, the new president, said during his campaign that he would take care of them, the MOFINA (Surinamese: the poor), unlike the incumbency (Venetiaan Administration) who for fifteen years, did nothing to help out the poor. People hoped that the new government would work on the redistribution of land, do great things for the country, such as for example, build extensive infrastructures (a road all the way to Brasil).
They decried the fact that President Venetiaan had turned its back, and failed to communicate, failed to tell the people about the challenges they had to deal with, the possible difficulties. These people felt left-out, divorced from mainstream society, and the traditional ethnic parties had failed to see that ethnicity no longer determined the primary political cleavages, class, the divide between the haves and the have-nots had become the primary cleavage during the 2010 elections.
On social media this footage brought on feelings of repulsion and disgust. People wrote that they did not understand why ‘these people’ supported and venerated Mr Bouterse. Many people on social media belong to the upper and middle classes, and have little in common with the man in the street, the so called hosselaars, the poor street vendors and small scale gold traders (Sranan; English: Hustlers), most often young urban poor, with limited education and/or skills. The people on FACEBOOK have a different reference cadre, they are part of the so called global village, modernity, Europe, American, Latin American and Asian. Urban poor youth on the other hand feeds from a different culture, Sranan-style, Black American, African and Anglo Caribbean. The cultural gap echoes the deep social and economic divide of a struggling, juxtaposing society in the permanent throes of transition and in constant search for its identity.
The people in the street strongly expressed their need for autonomy, for freedom to make choices, to have a future, to simply become part of society. One of the interviewees remarks: “What I want is a permit to sell my goods on the street (…)” ,another one: I want a piece of land to build a house”. They all believed that Suriname would be better off after Five years of penury and disenfranchisement.
The sad story is that behind these verbalized desires lies a gamut of lies, told by a presidential candidate driven by political opportunism and greed. Today, as the people continue to hold on to their dream, that Suriname will become ‘Nirvana-upon-Suriname’, the new president is turning the country into a undemocratic society, governed by paramilitary and tugs.
For example, on this date, June 19, 2012, a local newspaper writes that profits from gold-mining amasses $1 billion. International credit rating agencies esteemed Suriname’s macro-economic position as sound (BB-rating). But who will benefit? The Mofina, the backbone of the president or his inner circle? Non of the things promised to the mofina came through, non of the plans, set out during hour long speeches by the president have materialized. But the president and his cabinet are not to blame, so they say; both avid supporters and the presidential PR machinery are quick to point their fingers at ‘others’, dissidents in the coalition and a disobedient opposition. Is it indeed plausible that government is crossed and obstructed by parliamentary and outer-parliamentary oppositions? Is it plausible that Mr Bouterse is marred by infighting and side-stepped by his opponents?
It is for the sake of discourse interesting to find out if the current government is indeed impeded by obstruction and an ill-willed opposition. But the reality tells a different tale: given the parliamentary majority, obstruction by the opposition is highly unlikely. Party discipline and strict control prevent dissidence within the ranks of the coalition. In other words, government and parliament have free reign, as the amnesty law exemplifies.The manner in which it became enacted, a shift blitz-krieg type of action executed by the most fateful and most loyal MP’s of the Nationale Democratische Partij is illustrative of their numerical superiority. The opposition could do nothing more than watch, hands tied, unable to block this controversial proposal. But the clamorous Mofina feel that the government can do no wrong, for them the president is a Messianic figure who will eventually liberate them from poverty and mayhem.
The irony is that these fateful and loyal followers, are the first victims of bad government, repression, injustice and discrimination. Double digit inflation made life and living harder for the poor. Permits to sell goods on the street never came, and acquiring a piece of land will not happen under this administration. The current government also pays little attention to the needs poor. The socio-economic disparities in Suriname have become more significant. Lack of entrepreneurial opportunities, and joblessness disproportionately affect the young urban poor. Many young poor and jobless individuals become petty criminals to make end meet. But as the rising criminality have been reeking havoc in and around town since the 1970s and disgruntled citizens have been calling for action for the longest time. Those who can afford it have been using private security to protect their belongings since the late 1990s. But criminality seems to have reached unprecedented highs. The new justice minister indeed came with a crime plan, approved by the president. But the patience of the public was running out and the heist in jewelry shop in one of the Malls,was the last drop, and government had to do something to restore calm and order.
Police started a frenzied manhunt….. or so it seemed. They said they did everything in their power to capture and apprehend the perpetrators and they were killed by the police while running from the law…or so it appeared. The story of anonymous posted in online on www.Mamjo.com put a different light on the story of the Chief of Police and the Attorney General, it explains the bullet ridden car and the massive front torso trauma of the death victims (I have see footage of the bodies) . Let me say that the story of this source is not corroborated by hard evidence. Its fact-value is based on what was revealed by other sources and what is logical based on the evidence of the car and the bodies.
1. There is evidence that small scale gold miners are evicted from their concessions, chased away by Dino Bouterse and his group. This story was revealed by Apinti TV in 2011. There is also evidence linking Dino Bouterse to the under world, with narco-trafficking and arms trading (see previous postings). And all these stories correspond with the information provided by an anonymous source that the gunning down was carried out by a death squat led by Dino Bouterse, the presidents son.
Dino Bouterse beheerst momenteel samen met enkele handlangers grote delen van de Surinaamse onderwereld. Vrijwel alle grote berovingen worden vanuit dit clubje gecoordineert en uitgevoerd. Soms door zijn eigen mannetjes (met een militaire achtergrond) of door andere rovers die samen met hem werken. Vrijwel alle grote berovingen van de afgelopen 2 jaren komen uit deze hoek. Aangezien men via de CIVD mensen kan afluisteren en tracen komt men aan veel gevoelige financiele informatie. (English translation: Dino Bouterse, together with a few cronies rules the Surinamese under world. Since two years the bulk of all big heists are coordinated and carried out by them, sometimes by his own people (former military) and sometimes by professional tugs who work with him. Through the state they can get their hands on classified financial information.
2. Today, the online Magazine Obsession published the story of the families of two of the men that were killed by a special police (military) squat last week. According them, their relatives were gunned down, one of the wives, recalled that she saw the riddled car passing her by, while speaking to her husband on the phone. Another relative describes her son as a rehabilitated petty criminal who had turned his live around. This story corresponds with the version of the anonymous source that ‘they’ contacted so called rehabilitated criminals and one of them is confirmed to have been a small scale gold trader:
Er werd contact gemaakt met deze 4 oudbekenden van de politie die lange tijd niks meer hadden gedaan. Maar als je eenmaal in de onderwereld zit dan heb je bepaalde contacten. Er werd aan ze gevraagd of ze geen goud wilden kopen en er werd een afspraak gemaakt om elkaar op een bepaalde locatie te ontmoeten. Daar aangekomen werden ze gelijk doodgeschoten en aan ons werd verteld dat de daders van de beroving in de Mall waren aangehouden. (English translation: They contacted four former [rehabilitated] criminals asking them if they wanted to buy gold and they set up an appointment to meet at a certain hour and at a certain location. Upon arrival they were immediately gunned down)
Last week, human rights organizations filed charges against the state of Suriname, alleging that the four men were killed in an act of police violence. The Attorney General Mr. Punwasi recanted on his original stance in support of the police chiefs’ rendition of events and announced further investigation of the killings. The Attorney General, whose name is mentioned by the anonymous as an accomplice, in 2001 refused to grant a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Bouterse, a suspect in the killing of 15 political adversaries. This latest affair involving the police chief and other members of the prosecution’s office raises new questions on the corruptibility of the Surinamese Justice system. Because as it stands, everybody runs the risk of falling prey to the arbitrariness of Surinamese police and justice system.
The political ramifications are however massive and irreversible, because inundation of the justice system by the under world seriously undermines democracy. I predict that the political consequences will have a greater impact than one can possibly phantom at this particular moment. There is at this point in time, no clear evidence that the traditional parties are in sync with reality. Many people continue to see the protest vote of the Mofina as something stupid, something irrational. People on social media blame the Mofina for the crisis, instead of accepting the fact that this specific category of people sent out a powerful message to the nomenclature that they wanted and want change. Suriname is in that sense not unique, everywhere in the world the gap between the haves and the have-nots had widened and continues to widen under the pressures of merit-based social structures and technological advancement. All these developments bring about a slew of unwanted and unwelcome byproducts, such as the rise of the extreme right in Europe and socio-economic marginalization of the poor in the USA. The difference between Suriname and the aforementioned societies is that Suriname is an electoral democracy while the rest are considered polyarchies.
AUTHOR: Natascha Adama
E-MAIL: nataliapestova23 [@] yahoo.com