Bouterse re-election a travesty
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The May election victory of ex-dictator and president Desi Bouterse's National Democratic Party shows clearly the short memory and opportunism of the Surinamese people.
Poverty is used smartly by Bouterse to realise a socio-economic programme that probably will not last because of the diminished prices of gold and oil - the main exports of Suriname.
To refresh the memory, since the military coup in February 1980, the military regime has been guilty of oppression and serious human-rights violations.
Politicians of the former parties were arrested on vague grounds and often mistreated, and colleague soldiers, with whom were conflicts, were arrested and detained in bad conditions.
In March 1982, Sergeant-Major Wilfred Hawker, who had planned a contra coup, was executed without trial. And in December 1982, 15 opponents of the military regime were executed, without trial, after being tortured.
As if this was not bad enough, in 1986, the Surinamese army caused a massacre in the Maroon village, Moiwana, in the civil war with Bouterse's rival, Ronnie Brunswijk.
This massacre took place under the responsibility of Bouterse, who was the commander-in-chief of the army.
In 2000, Bouterse was condemned in the Netherlands to 11 years prison because of drug dealing.
The trial surrounding the December Murders was destroyed by the 'amnesty law', so Bouterse and the other suspects got off the hook.
The election victory of a party, led by a political gangster such as Bouterse, is a slap in the face of human rights.
There should be no impunity for Bouterse and his co-suspects.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands