Anna: Alright, tell me everything.
Last week, Suriname had a Presidential election. For those not in the know, Suriname is the only Dutch-speaking country in South America, having become independent from the Netherlands in 1975. Despite its relative obscurity considering its close proximity to the US, Suriname has had a violent and contentious history, particularly in the 1980s when the country was a military dictatorship under the de facto rule of General Dési Bouterse.
Oh, did I mention that Bouterse is Suriname’s current President?
Anna: military dictators and presidential elections go together about as well as strawberry milk and pizza rolls (mini me’s snack and dipping sauce of choice this week, which WHY!?!?!) So I’m sure this went amazingly well.
Monty: Oh God.
Well, anyway, Suriname hasn’t been a military dictatorship since 1989, but even so, Bouterse has not hidden his involvement in a number of murders, war crimes, and drug trafficking. He has therefore used the presidency to immunize himself from prosecution by both domestic and international authorities, and has put his hopes in this election to keep it that way.
Anna: who else do we know that’s using their position of power to get away with crimes?
…both our government leaders.
Monty: I don’t think you have to say it. The question answers itself.
Anna: I’m trying to cheer myself up.
Monty: Well there’s a catch, and that’s this election. The President of Suriname is not directly elected by the people. Instead, he is chosen by the Parliament, and now he’s lost his ruling majority, a coalition of parties known as the Megacombinatie.
Anna: That’s…not a Power Rangers villain?
Monty: It’s Dutch.
His son reportedly tried to stop the counting of votes, but was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, Suriname does not get a terribly large amount of attention, so we’ll just have to see where this leads.