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Suriname

Yearbook 1998

Suriname. During the year, human rights organizations and the opposition pressured President Jules Wijdenbosch to demand responsibility for the abuses committed in the 1980s, including by Desi Bouterse who was then the country's strong man. According to Countryaah, Bouterse is accused by the Netherlands of having "laundered" drug money and smuggled more than 1.3 tons of cocaine into the Netherlands in 1989-95. He is believed to have had an agreement with Colombian guerrillas on the exchange of cocaine for weapons.

In July, the Netherlands demanded that Bouterse be extradited from Trinidad and Tobago where he was visiting, and in August a similar request was made to Brazil, where he visited his son who works at the Embassy of Suriname.

1998 Suriname

In late 1983 and early 1984, a large number of labor disputes were carried out in the bauxite industry, transport, water and electricity supply. Bouterse explained that the situation was due to the Prime Minister's mistake and the entire government resigned immediately. Bouterse announced that the entire Finance Act had been repealed by decree and appointed two union leaders as members of the new government.

In an effort to reduce the isolation and tension in relations with the Netherlands, the government embarked on a more aggressive foreign policy. It included Suriname in the Caribbean trade cooperation, CARICOM as an observer and resumed relations with Cuba, Grenada, Nicaragua, Brazil and Venezuela. At the same time, it joined the Latin American Economic System (SELA, Sistema Econůmico Latinoamericano), the OAS (Organization of American States) and the Amazon Pact.

In April 1987, the National Assembly (with 33 members, 11 of whom were union representatives) unanimously adopted a constitutional project that would pave the way for a return to parliamentarism. The project had support from the three main political parties and from the army.

In the January 1988 elections, the Front of Democracy and Development prevailed. On July 21, 1989, President Ramsewak Shankar agreed to an amnesty with the constantly active guerrilla as well as the opportunity to remain armed in the interior of the jungle. Bouterse and the NDP opposed this agreement, arguing that it legalized an independent military force.

A military coup in December 1990 overturned Ramsewak Shankar - president since 1988. Lieutenant Desi Bouterse, who resigned the week before the coup, resumed his position as army commander on December 30. The National Assembly elected in 1987 for a five-year term appointed Johan Kraag (from NPD) as interim president.

 

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