The Trouble in Suriname, 1975-1993

The Trouble in Suriname, 1975-1993

The Trouble in Suriname, 1975-1993

The Trouble in Suriname, 1975-1993

Synopsis

Written by the leading political expert on Suriname, this thrilling tale describes ethnically inspired guerilla warfare, terrible human rights violations, military coups, painful redemocratization processes, and economic implosion. Although part of the American family of nations in the Western Hemisphere, there is almost nothing written about Suriname as a modern country. There are some ethnographies, some histories of ex-slave rebellions, and passing references to the atrocities of colonial plantation systems. After that, the dark clouds of obscurity close over a fascinating if beleaguered close American cousin, one whose history as an independent nation has much to say to the strife-ridden trouble spots of the 1990s--Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Liberia, and Nicaragua.

Excerpt

Not long ago, one of my friends said the problem with my work is that it is on a country that is "too far off the screen" of international importance. He suggested I do work on a place that is more relevant and pivotal, like Guatemala. It may not be surprising to learn that he was a businessman, not an academic. But sometimes academics, too, cluster like honeybees around what appear to be the "relevant and pivotal" subjects for research. Yet, as I hope this book will demonstrate, a subject that is "off the screen" can sometimes yield valuable lessons for everyone.

Suriname is classified by geographers, historians, and social scientists as a Caribbean country. Yet it is usually not shown on maps of the Caribbean. The Caribbean Sea, from the Yucatan Peninsula on the west to the Leeward and Windward Islands of the Caribbean archipelago on the east, and from the Greater Antilles on the north to the coast of Venezuela on the south, touches countries, like Venezuela and Mexico, that are not considered Caribbean, and misses a number that are: Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname. Of these, the last three are the furthest removed, located on the South American continent. They are also the least visited--having no beaches, they can lure only the most adventurous vacationers, those interested in the beauties of a lush jungle, the riches of a complex, multicultural society, or what sardonically the Nicaraguans once called politurismo, the peculiar thrill of seeing a society destroyed from within and without in a high-stakes political conflict.

But perhaps this is where Suriname's recent history has the most to offer us. The political conflicts since the mid-1970s in Suriname have . . .

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