On Saturday, Dutch news outlet nrc.nl, reported that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency that they have evidence proving that Surinames President Dési Bouterse was in direct contact with the regions top convicted drug trafficker, Roger Khan. The NRC received digital printouts of Khan’s satellite phone records, from an undisclosed source. The records show Bouterse’s cell phone number listed numerous times. The phone calls took place towards the end of 2005 until mid-June of 2006. In June of 2006 Khan was arrested in the capitol of Suriname, Paramaribo, on suspicion of drug trafficking. After standing trial in the U.S. he was found guilty of smuggling large amounts of cocaine and was sentenced in 2009 to serve a 40 year prison sentence.
The Telegraph reports that Dino Bouterse (son of Dési Bouterse), director of Suriname’s anti-terrorism unit, was arrested at the end of August in Panama by local authorities. He was later turned over to US agents. A US federal indictment alleges that Dino worked with Edmund Quincy Muntslag a.k.a “Blue” to smuggle cocaine into the United States starting in or about December of 2011. Dino was recently involved in smuggling a suitcase filled with 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine aboard a commercial flight from Suriname to the Caribbean in late July of this year.
The DEA has long reported that high ranking Suriname politicians were involved in “drug related corruption” but never presented any evidence. In 2011, U.S. diplomatic wires were leaked to WikiLeaks revealing the DEA’s smoking gun. The wires stated that Bouterse had “social and operational links” with the regions top convicted drug trafficker, Khan. With evidence mounting and the arrest of Bouterse’s son, Dino, local Suriname officials are keeping their mouths wired shut. Bouterse’s lawyer, Inez Weski, said that she wasn’t at liberty to release a statement in behalf of her client. She believes that there will be no public reaction in response to the current developments because the individuals involved probably think its better not to say anything in order to avoid making the situation worse.
Bouterse is making a strong attempt at drawing more tourist to the unknown Suriname by hosting events such as the Carifesta. He believes that this is a way to highlight the countries ethnic diversity, rainforest, capitol city of Paramaribo and UNESCO World Heritage sites of Dutch colonial architecture. Nieuws.nl reported that Bouterse has fired a total of 10 ministers within the three years that he has been in office. They also report that a large number of deputy ministers and directors of public enterprises have been fired. It seems as if Bouterse is cleaning ship, removing the people that don’t believe in the vision that he has for Suriname.
DJ Chuckie was decorated as ‘Commander of the Honorary Order of the Yellow Star’ by Bouterse. DJ Chuckie lives in Aruba but was born in Suriname and travels to the country regularly. Bouterse brought Chuckie to Suriname to DJ at the “Carifesta” opening ceremony.
Bouterse commercializes Suriname as being a country of peace and low crime. But, it hasn’t always been like that. Bouterse began his journey to power, by successfully executing a violent coup on February 25, 1980. He is the main suspect of the December 8, 1982, political murders of 15 opposition leaders, more commonly known as the “December murders.” After the December murders, the Netherlands and U.S. cut off economic aid to Suriname. He is believed to be responsible for the Moiwana massacre that took place on November 29, 1986. In 2000, Bouterse was order to serve 11-years in a Dutch prison because he was found guilty of trafficking 474 kilos of cocaine. Wikileaks has released official documents showing that Bouterse had financial campaign support from former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Suriname doesn’t extradite criminals to stand trial in foreign countries. In 2012, Bouterse made sure that he would never be tried in Suriname for his crimes, by passing an unpopular amnesty law.