On Monday night, DJ Chuckie was decorated as 'Commander of the Honorary Order of the Yellow Star' by Suriname's controversial president, Desire Delano "Dési" Bouterse. DJ Chuckie lives in Aruba but was born in Suriname and travels to the country regularly for performances. On this occasion he was specially brought to Suriname to DJ at the "Carifesta" (Caribbean Festival of Arts).
dwtonline reports that the ceremony took place during the opening of the "Carifesta Youth Village." DJ Chuckie was specifically invited by Pres. Bouterse to be a part of the ceremony. Pres. Bouterse said that he was proud of DJ Chuckie because he was able to make his dream of being a globally recognized DJ a reality. "You're a special person, who has been given to the world. Suriname has much appreciation for your accomplishments and you are cherished by your homeland," said Pres. Bouterse.
Caribbean News Now reports that Pres. 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 reports that Pres. 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 Pres. Bouterse is cleaning ship, removing the people that don't believe in the vision that he has for Suriname.
Pres. Bouterse commercializes Suriname as being a country of peace and low crime. But, it hasn't always been like that. Pres. 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, Pres. Bouterse was order to serve 11-years in a Dutch prison because he was found guilty of trafficking 474 kilos of cocaine. Wikileaks released official documents showing that Pres. Bouterse had financial campaign support from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The U.S. Department of State writes in its 2013 INCSR that Pres. Bouterse is a "high-level" official "within the Suriname government" that has "previous convictions for drug trafficking." Pres. Bouterse doesn't have to worry about being tried now for his crimes because as an elected official he has immunity. Suriname also doesn't extradite criminals to stand trial in foreign countries. In 2012, he made sure that he would never be tried in Suriname for his crimes, by passing an amnesty law.
This does make you wonder how much money DJ Chuckie was paid to perform at the Carifesta. Is DJ Chuckie familiar with the history of his birth country? Does it even matter to him or is he more worried about the money? Are the people of Suriname just as important to him as they are for Pres. Bouterse? Or are both men only driven by power, greed and fame?