Un polítiko o mandatario di buena fe sa ku ora su pais ta bankarota esei kiermen ku no por paga pa importashon di merkansia i servisio, ku plaka den sirkulashon ta bira skars, ku e sistema bankario komersial ta kai den otro i finalmente ta yega na un situashon ku no tin konfiansa, ku gobièrnu no por paga su debenan (kompletamente). Pues un situashon sumamente penoso ku tin konsekuensia pa bo presupuesto, balansa di pago, ekonomia i empleo kondusiendo na fuga di kapital i prinsipalmente deterioro di e situashon sosial. Nos pais no ta bankarota. Ta remarkabel kon e arkitéktonan di “voodoo finance” a ninga ku nos tabata den un debakel finansiero ku a kondusí na un ‘aanwijzing’ di Ulanda na 2012, pero ku awor ta grita ku nos ta bankarota, miéntras nos no ta. Tambe ta normal ku un polítiko o mandatario di buena fe ta bringa pa su pais no keda deklará bankarota loke normalmente ta keda hasí dor di instanshanan internashonal i independiente manera Standard and Poor Moody’s i IMF. Aki, sin aparente sosten di Banko Sentral, Ministerio di Finansa, CFT i sektor privá ni institutonan internashonal, e Promé minister temporal ta sali deklará nos pais bankarota. Ta masha importante pa Staten den un reunion urgente yama tantu e Promé minister i minister di Finansa temporal, pa nan bin splika nos situashon. Ta importante ku ta tende opinion di entre otro nos ekspertonan finansiero di Banko Sentral, CFT, Ministerio di Finansa i tambe e Asosashon di Bankeronan Komersial. Tambe ta importante pa nos traha i yega na un ofensiva pa informá internasionalmente kiko a i ta pasa na Kòrsou. No por tin duda ku e lokual e minister a sali bisa ta devastador pa nos klima di invershon i desaroyo sosio-ekómiko, prinsipalmente pa e hòmber humilde ku ya kaba tin’e difísil. Atrobe nos ta mira kon devastador ta ora bo laga finansa den man di hendenan ku sa tiki di e materia aki.
Inkapasidat, falta di madures di algun polítiko ta pone
ku awe nos pais a pèrdè un drechi atkerí 80 aña pasá
Despues di un lucha largu i tenás, riba 1 aprel 1937, 80 aña pasá, nos pais pa promé biaha a haña e derechi pa nos mes organisá nos elekshon di Staten. Na 1937 por a skohe solamente 10 (6 pa Kòrsou, 2 pa Aruba, 1 pa Boneiru i 1 pa Islanan Ariba) di e total di 15 miembronan di Staten. No ta tur hende por a vota; esei lo a keda reglá den e Kiesreglement di 1948. E logro di 1937 ta signifikante sinembargo pasombra mientras Ulanda a duna Sürnam e derechi aki for di 1864, nos no a hañ’é pasombra tabata konsiderá nos ‘no madurá’ pa e responsabilidad aki. Pa 80 aña nos tin pues e derechi pa nos mes organisá nos elekshon. Awe sinembargo nos a pèrd’é pasombra polítikonan na mando a demostrá di no tin madures pa atendé ku demokrasia i nos institutonan demokrátiko.
E prinsipal aktornan ku a hiba e lucha ya menshoná tabata Généreux Jacob Richard de Lima (for di 1869), Abraham Mendez Chumaceiro (for di 1895) i Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez (for di 1935). Den nan kaminda nan a topa banda di resistensia di Ulanda, tambe e élite (protestant) blanku aki na Kòrsou, entre otro Johannes Hamelberg, ku a bisa ku si nos haña derecho di voto nos pais lo bira unu di ‘kanibalismo i paganismo’. Despues di preshon i insistensia a publiká e Curaçaosch Kiesreglement 1937 riba 30 di mart 1937 ku a drenta na vigor riba 1 aprel 1937. Un triúmfo pa demokrasia i outonomia. E promé elekshon pa Staten a tuma lugá riba 22 di desèmber 1937.
Ta interesante pa repasá algun aspekto di e Kiesreglement 1937. Pa bo vota bo mester tabata hende hòmber, residensiá na Kòrsou, di nashonalidat Ulandes, mayó di 25 aña, ku un salario anual mínimo di Naf 1,200.-, sin debe di belasting habrí i minimal 7 aña di enseñansa (uitgebreid lager openbaar of gesubsidieerd bijzonder onderwijs). Asta den kaso ku e persona tabatin e añanan di enseñansa rekerí pero tabata eksistí duda serka e Verkiezingsbureau, mester a pasa un test di ‘verstandelijke ontwikkeling’ serka un komishon instituí pa Gobernadó i enkabesá pa e Inspektor di Enseñansa. Manera a bisa, hende muhé no por a vota, pero e por tabata kandidato i aparesé riba lista (i bira miembro di Staten). Pa kandidatonan pa lista mester a kumpli tambe ku e rekesitonan ku tabata konta pa e votadó. E Kiesreglement no tabata konosé sistema di partido (ounke ku nan tabata eksistí) pero di kandidato. Riba e ‘stembiljet’ e kandidatonan tabata registrá alfabétikamente. E manera di vota mes tabata sumamente kompliká pasombra kada votadó na Kòrsou por a vota pa un máksimo di 6 kandidato. Esun faborito ta haña e number 1 tras di su nòmber; e di dos faborito number 2 i asina te un máksimo di 6. Na Aruba por a vota pa un máksimo pa 2 kandidato. Na Boneiru i Islanan Ariba, por a vota pa un (1) kandidato so. Den kaso di Boneiru i Islanan Ariba, si un kandidato no a haña e mayoria di voto, e Kiesreglement ta preskribí un votashon di nobo denter di no mas ku tres siman despues di e promé votashon.
E medidanan di entrada, pago di belasting i enseñansa a pone ku solamente 40% di e 2,035 hendenan eligibel na Kòrsou pa vota tabata hendenan nasé na Kòrsou. Sobrá tabata hendenan ku nashonalidat Ulandes ku no a nase aki. E korantAmigoe di Curaçao a bisa algun dia despues di publikashon di e Kiesreglement di ta bou di impreshon ku a hasi e Kiesreglement asina kompliká ku e meta pa e elekshonnan bira un frakaso. E mesun korant den su edishon di 15 di òktober 1937 ta bai mas leu pa bisa ku e Kiesreglement a keda trahá “kontra di Yu di Kòrsou i na fabor di otronan”. Gran mayoria di hendenan nasé na Kòrsou tabata katóliko i esnan nasé otro kaminda, no-katóliko, prinsipalmente protestant. E Kiesreglement a trese hopi divishon di religion (i klase) na Kòrsou i e bataya na hopi okashon tabata keda hibá den korant. Un bataya entre di e defensor di katolisismo, Amigoe di Curaçao i Beurs -en Nieuwsberichten ku tabata sostené e banda protestant.
E elekshon di 22 desèmber 1937 a tuma lugá den tur trankilidat. Asina e Staten a sinta na 1938, mr. dr. Moises Frumensio da Costa Gomez a kuminsá traha pa trese kambio den e Kiesreglement. Pues e Kiesreglement 1937 a sirbi komo lei pa solamente un (1) elekshon. Un Kiesreglement fasinante, imperfekto ku a koroná un gran lucha hibá pa a tatanan di nos demokrasia. Awe nan mester mira kon nan yunan a traishoná e lucha aki, entregando bèk e derecho di organisá nos elekshon e luna aki. Rason pues pa e deklamadó ku a bisa: “demokrasia ta un flor bunita, pero si no dun’é awa i kuido, e ta seka i muri”.
Palabra ta difísil despues di e asesinatonan ku a tuma lugá ayera na Kòrsou. Mi ta manda kondolensia pa famia i amigunan di e defuntunan. Mi tin hopi doló. Ta normal ku ta puntra unda nos ta bai i ta fásil pa tira falta riba e ‘otro’ sin kuestioná kiko nos a hasi o keda sin hasi ku a hiba nos aki. E kantidat ridíkulamente haltu di asesinato no ta djis un asuntu di violensia di gèng. Sea ku e asesesinatonan di ayera resultá di ta relatá ku gèng òf no, laga nos realisá ku ta un problema ku mester prekupá nos tur komo Yu di Kòrsou. E asesinatonan aki ta kousa un ambiente di miedu ku ta afektá hinter nos komunidat. E ta menasá progreso i tur avanse ku nos a konosé komo pueblo. E ta komprometé e kosnan ku ta hasi Kòrsou un perla den laman i ku ta pone nos bisa ku nos ta oruyoso di ta Yu di Kòrsou. No ta un kuestion di ‘nan ku nan’ pero un asuntu di nos tur. E no ta un problema ku Gobièrnu o un minister di Hustisia so por solushoná. Pa kolmo no ta eksistí un solushon di awe pa mayan.
Ta opvio ku nos mester invertí mas den kuerpo polisial, ekipo, teknologia ‘state-of-the art’ i hende pa ekipá esaki. Mester un protokòl pa pone tur aktor den e kadena hudisial traha i interkambiá inteligensia ku otro. Tin muchu divishon den i entre e diferente aktornan. Posiblemente un ‘team openbare veiligheid’. E kantidat di arma ku ta drenta nos pais mester ta un prioridat. Tampoko por laga e porta ku ta keda drei permitiendo e mesun hendenan drenta prison, sali, bolbe drenta, keda habrí.
Represhon ta importante, pero p’ami e aspekto prinsipal pa restablesé seguridat ta pa duna tur nos yunan speransa i akseso igual na oportunidat pa hiba un bida desente i kontentu. Nos mester krea un komunidat den kua tur hende por sinti ku nan potensial komo individuo i grupo ta alkansabel i ku esaki no ta un soño ku solamente un man yen di hende por realisá.
Nos mester di mas hende ku ta modelo pa nos komunidat. Polítikonan mester realisá ku banda di maneho i ser Parlamentario nan tin un deber ku nos hendenan pa tin un komportashon ku ta inspirá i no un di dekadensia. Religiosonan mester realisá ku si nan mes, hopi biaha ku inpunidat, ta faya ku lei, moral i nan vokashon, nan no por ta un ‘role model’ pa nos komunidat. I meskos ta konta pa nos organisashonnan di deporte, rekreo i soshal kaminda definitamente nos por hasi kosnan mihó. Laga nos ta sinsero i atmití ku nos a krea un isla di ‘nan’ i ‘nos’. Ta p’esei hopi hende den e kasonan di asesinato manera nos a konosé ta papia di ‘nan ku nan’. Mi sa, mi a tende un lider polítiko bisa meskos despues di e dòbel asesinato na Hato. Nos mester traha riba un komunidat di inklushon kaminda nos ta sòru ku no pasombra nos yunan ta bai tal skol, ta biba den tal bario, tin tal tipo di kabei, ta papia tal idioma, tin tal preferensia seksual o ta di tal religion o kredo, nan no ta konta. For di 1954 nos no a hasi sufisiente pa krea un bon sistema di edukashon, programanan soshal, un ekonomia ku ta krese i krea kupo di trabou. Pues laga nos no hunga wega polítiko ku e tragedia aki. I nos komo mayor tin un enorme tarea nos dilanti. Nos ta e piesa sentral. Nos mester ta e ‘role model’ prinsipal pa nos yunan ku nos komportashon i pa krea speransa serka nan. Nos komo mayor mester wak nos mes den spil i koregí nos komportashon. Laga nos hasi’é pa nan. Pa nan futuro. Pa nos pais.
A few days before the so-called Brexit referendum I released a press statement to warn against populism in the world, Europe and my own country, Curaçao. Again I want to send a cautionary advice. I do not want to put a damper on all the jubilance around the world after the Dutch election of this week, but let us please do not confuse the results as a defeat of populism. I too want to believe that the Dutch election is going to send a powerful message to the likes of Ms.Marine Le Pen (France) and Mr. Uwe Junge (Germany), both far right populists who face elections later this year. That is simply not the case. Let us understand that populism in The Netherlands was not defeated. Politicians in The Netherlands chose to adopt the popular nationalistic language and radical anti-Islamic ideas of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party rather than confront these messages.The Dutch Prime Minister, Mr. Mark Rutte, chose his words carefully after his victory condemning the ‘wrong populism’. Let us not overlook the fact that he did not condemn populism in general. So I guess that according to Mr. Rutte there is nothing wrong with his brand of populism. Unfortunately Dutch politicians in general, not only Mr. Rutte, chose to adopt the radical ideas of Mr. Wilders, repackage them and somehow made them look less over the top with the Dutch voters. Also, let us not forget that Mr. Rutte had his own ‘mano de Dios’ moment to help him win the election when the Turkish President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, decided to start a spat with The Hague. I guess Mr. Rutte chose to rather join the populists than doing something about them. Fast-forwarding to France, does this mean that Ms. Le Pen does not have a chance in the French presidential election because of what happened in The Netherlands? I do not think France (and Germany) should read too much into what happened in The Netherlands this week. Finally I want to make this point. Not that I agree with him, but Mr. Wilders has been authentic about his intentions to be the savior of the Western World against Islam which according to him is pure evil. Ms. Le Pen is not that principled. She wants power and will likely run and cruise on the right kind of populism. Just like Mr. Rutte.
Last month, after I had posted a picture of a Chinese pavilion on my Facebook page, an unknown person sent me a message asking me if I was in Taiwan. He recognized the pavilion and knew I took the photo in the Jieshou Park in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. This person turned out to be a Curaçaoan (a Yu di Kòrsou (YDK) as we refer to ourselves in our language Papiamentu) living in Taiwan. He, together with three more YDKs wanted to meet with me to chat about our island. They were very interested in Curaçao politics, and I felt they were eager to talk to me about some good ideas they had for our island. Unfortunately I had already left Taiwan and was in Vietnam for an assigment. Via social media we maintained contact and I asked him how he felt about getting our diaspora organized in order for meaningful contacts among the diaspora and between the diaspora and the mother country. This idea got met with a lot of enthusiasm.
Before getting to that point, the word diaspora comes from the Greek language. ‘Dia’ meaning all over and ‘sporius’ meaning dispersed. In every day language, diaspora means the community of migrants of a particular country living (permanently) in other countries while aware of their identity and maintaining some kind of connection with the country of origin. The idea of diaspora is not new and a handful of countries, some of them for many centuries, have made good use of their people living abroad. There is a growing awareness among countries new to this concept, that the diaspora is a treasured resource. Input from the diaspora means ideas, innovation, investments and global networks not available at home. Fact is that in the case Curaçao our diaspora can be an important bridge to knowledge, expertise, innovation beyond what is available via the Kingdom diplomatic missions which, as I have mentioned many times before are not even focused on our island even when they should be. Diaspora means especially ‘brain regain’ and ‘brain exchange’. Fact is that many of our graduates and brain power live abroad. The message we need to send to our YDKs living abroad and the ones planning to leave the country, is that emigration does not have to be final in the sense of severing ties with Curaçao. We have to realize that many of our emigrants are not coming back because they can’t or simply don’t want to. That is fine with me. In any case we should not try to make them out as some kind of monsters for not returning to our island. Especially our politicians like to play this blaming game. I know, because I witnessed a session in 2007 with students from Curaçao at the Erasmus University where a colleague of mine referred to some students as ‘money mongers” for not wanting to return. We must call on YDKs in the diaspora to help to promote and protect the Brand Curaçao. The very notion of the concept of a nation is being redefined. Because of globalization and interconnectedness today the nation is no longer bounded by our 444 square kilometers of territory. We have according to some sources more than half of our population living outside of Curaçao. We need the input of the Curaçao diaspora in order to realize our potential. In order to achieve this we need a diaspora policy in place. In 2012 I dedicated a chapter of the PAIS (the political party I used to head) program on diaspora. In 2013 I wrote a paper on this matter for a meeting between the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands, but there was not enough interest to pursue this initiative. Not having had success then, I am trying another approach. We will not wait on policy, but will take it to the social media to get our diaspora organized. A dedicated Facebook page: ‘Curaçao Diaspora’ will be launched. This must be seen as a first step. It is important that we know where we have YDKs, what they do, what their talens are, how they are connected in their places of residence, what their interests are, and how they want to contribute to our development. We could in the future think about having conferences, papers and a list of priorities such as diversity, democracy, human rights, environment, food and water security and of course economics. Hopefully along the way a policy on diaspora will emerge. In no way I want to have any kind of monopoly in this process. Let’s hope it grows. Let’s hope we all feel like the owners of this initiative. Let’s do it for the the Curaçao Brand. I am convinced this could be the start of something wonderful. Thank you YDKs in Taiwan.
You don’t have to be a woman to be for women’s rights. Neither do you have to be a woman to see that there is something intrinsically wrong with the statement that ‘women’s rights have led to moral decay in our homes and country’. If anything this movement is a challenge to the unequal social structure that subjugates and discriminates women. Promoting gender equality, any kind of equality for that matter, can never be morally destructive. Today on International Women’s Day (IWD) it is important to commemorate the enormous gains we have made. These gains are however neither equally distributed globally, nor have they made us come close to ending gender discrimination.
Female genital mutilation, child marriage, honor killings, domestic abuse, lack of equality under the law are all issues that make girls and women all over the world suffer. Women’s rights cannot be only about our own situation back home. Even if these above-mentioned issues may be considered a ‘far-from-my-bed show’, women’s organizations everywhere should make women’s rights a global issue. Without women’s rights around the world, there is no global well-being.
In the workplace women’s rights have played an important role to lessen gender discrimination. I admit however that women more than often work more than men, yet are paid less. Consequently women and girls are more often the face of poverty; they are disproportionately financially dependent on others and are unfortunately more unhealthy than their male counterparts. Fact remains that women’s rights have seen more progress in the workplace. Lacking unfortunately is progress in our homes. Women’s rights and roles at home have not moved in step with changes in the workplace. Too many women and girls are denied social contacts outside of the home, they suffer domestic and sexual abuse and are too often prevented from making personal choices in their private lives. If we want to make changes in the lives of women and girls, we should not stop at labor issues. It should be in the first place at home. And I can honestly say that we have steered away from this issue for too long. No wonder there are so many people who are blaming women’s progress at work for all kinds of societal problems and using this as a poor excuse to deny women and girls the same betterment at home as has been the case in the workplace. This is unacceptable. It should become clear that the women’s movement is not about women who want to be like men. It’s about equal opportunity so that all genders have more options in life and that they can freely make their own choices in order to live full and productive lives. Regarding women’s rights, the battle on the workforce is progressing. In our homes, it’s another ballgame.
Every Friday you’d find me there. At the happy hour hosted by the U.S. Embassy in N’Djaména, the capital of Chad. I attended not only to watch the Seinfeld t.v. series (the one and only Chadian channel did not carry any American entertainment during its trice-a-week programming), eat some good ol’ American junk food and have a couple of ice cold Galas. Mostly I went to chitchat with my colleague diplomats, members of foreign missions, Peace Corp volunteers and a handful of Chadians who took part in the weekly bash. It’s not a secret that managing meaningful face-to-face social connections with counterparts can work wonders and have a remarkable use for the field of ‘official’ diplomacy. At that time I worked for the United Nations (UN) and relevant information in that soon to be an oil producing war-thorn Chad was a must for the UN Mission in N’Djaména. It’s not my intention to divulge any sensitive information, so what is my point you ask? What I’m getting at is that diplomacy is often done quietly. Not by sharing policy insights with billions of people via Twitter. Nor is it a good idea to utter tongue-in-cheek comments in the media at the expense of other nations with which you maintain a close relationship even if you are struggling to muster enthusiasm as election day looms. Diplomacy takes time and is built on long-term relationships and trust. Diplomacy is almost boring and most of the time it is invisible.
Yet some politicians in Curaçao are somehow convinced that if we are not ‘at war’ with The Hague, something must be altogether amiss with our politicians. During 2012-2016 the relationship within the Kingdom of The Netherlands compared with the disastrous two years after our constitutional change on 10-10-10, was warming up at both sides of the ocean. According to these warmongers good relations with The Hague means being weak and submissive. I guess in their line of thinking statements of the recent past such as ‘sending the Dutch back to Europe in body bags’ must be the vocabulary of choice of Willemstad, instead of the quiet diplomacy which took place during 2012-2016. But before saying more on that subject, let me make clear that some politicians in The Hague are also famous for their stupid and incendiary remarks by referring to Curaçao as a roque state, a tax haven and whatnot resulting in costly troubles for the Kingdom relations. Three years ago, in The Hague, I asked a far right member of parliament (MP) why he used offensive and provocative language taking away from what in some cases were valid statements when referring to our island and Kingdom relations. His answer was that according to him he had to provoke, rock the boat in order to get attention. Obviously this MP did not go to the same diplomatic school I attended. And yes, everyone in Curaçao always concentrates on his provocative language and not the content of his statements.
We must realize that ‘war language’ aggravates and escalates hostilities and further strengthens the hardliners both here and there. With politicians in Willemstad and The Hague riding a growing wave of populism, I believe the need is more stronger than ever to engage moderates, independents and free thinkers in what I referred to earlier as quiet diplomacy. The Curaçao House has an important role to play in order to pave the way for meaningful contacts with these people I mentioned. Not only the Curaçao House but also the Curaçao Diaspora in The Netherlands and former politicians should give a helping hand. In addition the Dutch Representation in Curaçao should also do the same. Having been to many of its social gatherings, I can honestly say that in one glance you know where each and everyone of the invitees stands on various social and political issues. This could never be the objective of these turnouts, in my opinion at least. Why not engage local artists, free thinkers, school teachers, composers and even ordinary people? In conclusion, I really hope that our politicians do not fall in the trap of viscous back-and-forth bickering with the hard-liners in The Hague. Face-to-face contacts with a wide variety of people should be part of this quiet diplomacy to push ahead for better relations between the Kingdom partners.