Suriname

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Overview

Suriname is a relatively prosperous country in northern South America with a fairly well-developed mining and manufacturing sector. With a remote and nearly impenetrable jungle interior, Suriname reflects Caribbean culture more than South American, and the fact that the Surinamese speak Dutch rather than Spanish or Portuguese only enhances its cultural isolation. Its fine beaches and natural wonders make Suriname an excellent candidate for tourism, but poor infrastructure has so far retarded development of that industry. The US has traded heavily with Suriname due to the surplus of Suriname’s bauxite mining and processing industry.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land:

The smallest independent country in South America, Suriname (formerly known as Dutch Guiana) is the only independent Dutch-speaking nation in the Western Hemisphere. Bordered by French Guiana to the east, Brazil to the south, Guyana to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Suriname has two main geographic regions. The northern, lowland coastal districts, where almost 90% of the population lives, contain virtually all of Suriname’s agriculture and industry. In many ways Suriname is culturally more Caribbean than South American, an orientation fostered by the absence of land transportation links between Suriname and its neighbors. The southern districts consist largely of tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savanna, where numerous parks and nature preserves covering 12% of the country’s area are located, including the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its unspoiled rainforest biodiversity. The country’s total area is 63,251 square miles, slightly smaller than the state of Wisconsin. The capital and largest city is Paramaribo, which is located near the coast on the banks of the Suriname River. With a population of roughly 250,000, Paramaribo is home to more than half of all Surinamese. The historic central core of Paramaribo is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
 
Population: 475,996
 
Religions: Hindu 27.4%, Protestant (predominantly Moravian) 25.2%, Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, Ethnoreligious (i.e., shamanism and others) 5%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Hindustani (East Indians) 37%, Creole (mixed white and black) 31%, Javanese 15%, “Maroons” (ancestors of African slaves who escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%. Suriname is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. 
 
Languages: Dutch (official) 45.8%, Caribbean Hindustani 34.3%, Sranan 27.5%, Caribbean Javanese 13.7%, Guyanese Creole English 11.4%, Saramaccan 5.3%, Aukan 3.4%, Hakka Chinese 1.6%. English is commonly spoken. There are 16 living languages in Suriname.
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History

The history of Suriname dates from 3000 BCE, when Native Americans first inhabited the area. The largest tribes were the Arawaks, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing, and the Caribs, who followed the Arawaks and conquered them. Beginning in the 16th century, the area was explored by French, Spanish and English explorers. A century later, the Dutch and English established plantation colonies along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana plains. Disputes between the Dutch and the English were resolved in 1667, when the Dutch kept Suriname while the English retained New Amsterdam, a small trading post in North America now known as New York City. The Dutch planters relied heavily on African slaves to cultivate the coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Many slaves escaped the plantations and, with the help of native South Americans, established Maroon villages, creating tribes that survive to this day. After several unsuccessful campaigns against the Maroons, the Dutch authorities signed several peace treaties with them in the 19th century, granting the Maroons sovereign status and trade rights. 

 
Although the Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname in 1863, the slaves were not fully freed until 1873, when they largely abandoned the plantations in favor of city life in Paramaribo.   Because it was a plantation colony, Suriname still depended heavily on manual labor, and to make up for the shortfall the Dutch imported laborers from the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia), India, the Arab world and China. As a result, Suriname's population is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the world. In 1954, the Dutch placed Suriname under a system of limited self-government, with the Netherlands retaining control of defense and foreign affairs. In 1973, the local government started negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards full independence, which was granted on November 25, 1975. The first President of the country was Johan Ferrier, the former governor. Nearly one third of the Surinamese population at that time emigrated to the Netherlands in the years leading up to independence, as many people feared that the new country would fare worse under independence than it did as an overseas colony. 
 
On February 25, 1980, a military coup under the leadership of Sergeant Major Desi Bouterse deposed the democratic government , beginning a period of economic and social hardship for the country. To solidify its hold on power, on December 8, 1982, the junta tortured and killed fifteen prominent opposition leaders, including journalists, lawyers, and labor union leaders. The Netherlands and the US suspended all foreign aid to Suriname after this event. Democracy returned to Suriname between 1991 and 1993, and free and fair elections have been held several times since. In an effort to remedy some of the wrongs of the past, Suriname is now trying Desi Bouterse and others for the December 1982 massacre, although problems locating witnesses willing to testify may pose a significant obstacle. Further, the Dutch government convicted Bouterse, in absentia, of drug crimes in 2000.
 
In order to take care of debts, in 2001, the Dutch gave the Surinamese a 10-year loan from the Dutch Development Bank for $125 million. The money was used to pay off foreign loans ($32 million), and the debts of the Central Bank of Suriname ($93 million). Despite these efforts to improve the Surinamese economy, the NF, or New Front for Democracy and Development party, lost its majority in the National Assembly in the 2005 election. Bourterse’s NDP, or National Democratic Party, more than doubled its representation in the Assembly, with Ronald Venetiaan, who represented a party part of the NF, being elected president. Meanwhile, Bourterse’s hearing testimonies began July 4, 2008, and the trial is still ongoing. 
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History of U.S. Relations with Suriname

The US and Suriname had normal relations from the latter’s independence in 1975 until the aftermath of the December 1982 massacre, when the US canceled foreign aid and relations cooled substantially. Relations were re-normalized in 1991 as Suriname began to re-institute democratic governance, and have become closer and more cooperative since that time. 

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Current U.S. Relations with Suriname

Noted Surinamese-American

Jimmy Smits is a prominent actor who has starred in multiple Star Wars movies, NYPD Blue, and Saturday Night Live. His mother is Puerto Rican and his father is from Suriname.
 
Since 2000, in an effort to strengthen civil society and bolster democratic institutions, the US has provided aid to Suriname’s military and justice systems. Further, the US Peace Corps has 44 volunteers in Suriname working with the Ministry of Regional Development and rural communities to encourage community development in Suriname’s remote interior. 
 
The US has also aided the Surinamese police department by donating databases, computers, cars, and radio equipment. The US is now concerned with Suriname in an economic sphere, as its newly open economic rules have increased US exports and investments in the area. The US is also one of Suriname’s most prominent trading partners. Suriname is now trying to use the US and other foreign investors to develop its natural resources (which are hidden in its remote interiors), and finance infrastructure development. The country is also trying to modernize itself, and the US has partnered with Suriname in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
 
With respect to tourism, 4,699 Americans visited Suriname in 2005, and 4,465 visited in 2004. 5,266 Surinamese visited the U.S. in 2006. The annual number of tourists has remained very close to 5,000 since 2002.
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Where Does the Money Flow

The economy of Suriname is dominated by bauxite, the ore from which aluminum is made, which accounts for more than 15% of its GDP and 70% of export earnings. Suriname’s 2008 GDP was $2.88 billion and its GNP was $3.67 billion. Its imports consisted of 24.8% machinery and transport equipment, 15.6% mineral fuels, lubricants, and related goods, and 24.8% of other commodities. Suriname’s major exports for 2008 consisted of mainly metal ores and scraps and other crude materials. The US-based multinational Alcoa, through its subsidiary Suralco, owns most of the bauxite industry in Suriname, giving that company a major stake in Suriname’s stability. Other main exports  include rice, bananas and shrimp. Suriname has recently started exploiting some of its sizeable oil and gold reserves. Theseoffshore oil reserves had previously remain untapped pending a dispute with neighboring Guyana over the maritime border between the two countries, which was resolved only in 2007. 

 
Although about a quarter of the people work in the agricultural sector,the Surinamese economy is dependent on international trade, its main trade partners being the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and the Caribbean countries. 
 
Trade between the US and Suriname is small and tilted toward the US. US imports from Suriname in 2007 totaled $129.5 million, dominated by industrial inorganic chemicals (mainly bauxite and aluminum) ($94.5 million or 72.9%) and fish and shellfish ($23 million or 17.7%). US exports to Suriname totaled $305.9 million for the same year, led by chemicals ($75.1 million or 24.5%); industrial machinery ($42.8 million or 13.9%); food products ($26.8 million or 8.7%); furniture, household appliances and other household goods ($17.5 million or 5.7%); computers and telecommunications equipment ($12.8 million or 4.2%) and cars, trucks and parts ($12.6 million or 4.1%). 
 
Suriname received $509,000 in aid from the U.S. in 2007, all of which was dedicated to Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform, with $81,921 budgeted for exporting defense articles and services.The 2008 budget estimate dipped to $199,000,  while the 2009 budget requestedf or $380,000.   The 2010 US Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations budgeted a total of $1,131,000 for Suriname,. The majority of this money is going into foreign military financing, with the specific goal of fighting drug trafficking.
 
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Controversies

The US used Suriname to test new army vehicles in 2008 in an abandoned bauxite mining area in Moengo, which is in eastern Suriname. These tests lasted 100 days, and some members of the Surinamese parliament about the effect of these military operations on the local people and land. The Head of the Planning and Development Department at the Defense Ministry ensured people that the tests would be fully monitored and would not hurt the environment or the Surinamese in any way. Stryker Light Armored Vehicles, which are combat vehicles used by the military, were tested. The Strykers are used in urban areas where their lightness is favorable.

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Human Rights

The government of Suriname is a constitutional democracy with a president and unicameral legislature and constitutional democracy. In 2005, the United People’s Assembly reelected Ronald Venetiaan president. Although overall human rights fared well in Suriname, there have been some violations. These include guards mistreating detained prisoners, prison overcrowding, self-censorship of the media, which has been used to doing this because of Suriname’s history with intimidation by military leaders. Furthermore, the government has been accused of  corruption, discrimination against women, minorities, and natives. There has also been increased use of child labor in undocumented sectors of society. With such a diverse population, however, the Surimamese do enjoy freedom of religion.

 
One of the main issues affecting the country is the ongoing trial of former head of state Desi Bouterse, who has been charged with murder, amongst other crimes, after torturing and then  killing 15 people. Although these events happened more than 25 years ago, Amnesty International has praised the judicial system, which might finally give the families of those killed proper justice that is long overdue.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes served as US Ambassador to Suriname from September 28, 2006, until October 16, 2009, having previously served in Suriname as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2000 until 2002. Hughes was born in 1958. She earned her B.A. from Rutgers University in New Jersey and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law, conducted research in International Commercial Arbitration for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University in New York City, and in 1997 earned her M.S. in National Security Strategy at the National War College. Schreiber Hughes joined the diplomatic service in 1985. Quito, Ecuador, was her first overseas assignment, and she has also served in Havana. Washington assignments at the State Department have included Director, Office of Andean Affairs (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela); Economic Officer (Cuba), and Chief, Agricultural Development Division (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Program). Outside of the State Department, she has served on the President’s staff at the White House, as Director for Consular Affairs and International Programs on the Homeland Security Council. Schreiber Hughes is a member of the bars of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the District of Colombia. She speaks Spanish, understands some French, and is working to improve her Dutch. Though she has refrained from making political contributions herself, her husband, Eric Peter Salonen, donated more than $29,000 to various Democratic candidates and causes between 2000 and 2008.

 
Name: J. Owen Zurhellen, Jr.
Appointment: February 18, 1976
Presentation of Credentials: March 25, 1976
Termination of Mission: Left post June 2, 1978
 
Name: Nancy Ostrander
Appointment: May 25, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: June 29, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post July 8, 1980
 
Name: John J. Crowley, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 30, 1980
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 25, 1980
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 10, 1981
 
Name: Robert Werner Duemling
Appointment: Jul 22, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 4, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 24, 1984
 
Name: Robert E. Barbour
Appointment: Sep 27, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 25, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 23, 1987
 
Name: Richard C. Howland
Appointment: Nov 6, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 9, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post May 16, 1990
 
Name: John P. Leonard
Appointment: Oct 30, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 11, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 1, 1993
 
Name: Roger R. Gamble
Appointment: Oct 8, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 23, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 20, 1996
 
Name: Dennis K. Hays
Appointment: Feb 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 14, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 14, 2000
Note: Hays served as Executive Vice President of the conservative Cuban American National Foundation beginning in May 2000.
 
Name: Daniel A. Johnson
Appointment: Jun 14, 2000
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 29, 2000
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 3, 2003
 
Name: Marsha E. Barnes
Appointment: Jul 1, 2003
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 8, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 27, 2006
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Suriname's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Kross, Jacques

Jacques Ruben Constantijn Kross became ambassador of Suriname to the United States on February 22, 2007. Among his academic credentials, he holds a Master of Laws degree from Suriname’s Anton de Kom University. He has served as a member of the National Election Bureau and Chairman of the Surinamese team of the Joint Surinamese-Dutch Anti-Narcotics Steering Committee. In 2003, he chaired the Surinamese team during negotiations between his country and Brazil on a range of issues, including treaties for extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters. More recently, he served as Suriname’s Minister of Labor, followed by stints as Minister of Social Affairs and Public Housing, and more recently as Director of the Ministry of Justice and Police. In addition to being the ambassador to the US, Kross serves as Suriname's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).

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Suriname's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Suriname

Anania, Jay
ambassador-image

On April 11, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jay Nicholas Anania to be the next Ambassador to Suriname, which is the smallest independent nation in South America and the only independent Dutch-speaking nation in the Western Hemisphere. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, Anania is expected to be confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

 

Born circa 1960 in Silver Spring, Maryland, Anania earned a B.A. in History at Kenyon College in 1981 and an M.B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the Foreign Service in 1985, serving early foreign postings at the consulate general in Tijuana, Mexico; at the Interests Section in Havana, Cuba; and at the embassies in Amman, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong, China, where he served as management officer from 1999 to 2002.

 

In Washington at the State Department, Anania served as director of the Office of Management Policy from 2002 to 2005 and acting chief information officer in the Bureau of Information Resource Management from 2005 to January 2006. In 2003, he established and led the department’s Office of Rightsizing the U.S. Government Overseas Presence. From 2006 to 2009, Anania was minister-counselor for Management Affairs at the embassy in Berlin, Germany, where he also served for seven months as acting deputy chief of mission. From 2009 to 2011, he served as executive director of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Since 2011, he has served as management counselor at the embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

 

Anania and his wife, Lourdes, have a college-age son named Nicholas.

-Matt Bewig

 

Jay Anania (by Kellie Lunney, Government Executive)

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Bookmark and Share
News
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Overview

Suriname is a relatively prosperous country in northern South America with a fairly well-developed mining and manufacturing sector. With a remote and nearly impenetrable jungle interior, Suriname reflects Caribbean culture more than South American, and the fact that the Surinamese speak Dutch rather than Spanish or Portuguese only enhances its cultural isolation. Its fine beaches and natural wonders make Suriname an excellent candidate for tourism, but poor infrastructure has so far retarded development of that industry. The US has traded heavily with Suriname due to the surplus of Suriname’s bauxite mining and processing industry.

more less
Basic Information

Lay of the Land:

The smallest independent country in South America, Suriname (formerly known as Dutch Guiana) is the only independent Dutch-speaking nation in the Western Hemisphere. Bordered by French Guiana to the east, Brazil to the south, Guyana to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Suriname has two main geographic regions. The northern, lowland coastal districts, where almost 90% of the population lives, contain virtually all of Suriname’s agriculture and industry. In many ways Suriname is culturally more Caribbean than South American, an orientation fostered by the absence of land transportation links between Suriname and its neighbors. The southern districts consist largely of tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savanna, where numerous parks and nature preserves covering 12% of the country’s area are located, including the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its unspoiled rainforest biodiversity. The country’s total area is 63,251 square miles, slightly smaller than the state of Wisconsin. The capital and largest city is Paramaribo, which is located near the coast on the banks of the Suriname River. With a population of roughly 250,000, Paramaribo is home to more than half of all Surinamese. The historic central core of Paramaribo is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
 
Population: 475,996
 
Religions: Hindu 27.4%, Protestant (predominantly Moravian) 25.2%, Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, Ethnoreligious (i.e., shamanism and others) 5%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Hindustani (East Indians) 37%, Creole (mixed white and black) 31%, Javanese 15%, “Maroons” (ancestors of African slaves who escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%. Suriname is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. 
 
Languages: Dutch (official) 45.8%, Caribbean Hindustani 34.3%, Sranan 27.5%, Caribbean Javanese 13.7%, Guyanese Creole English 11.4%, Saramaccan 5.3%, Aukan 3.4%, Hakka Chinese 1.6%. English is commonly spoken. There are 16 living languages in Suriname.
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History

The history of Suriname dates from 3000 BCE, when Native Americans first inhabited the area. The largest tribes were the Arawaks, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing, and the Caribs, who followed the Arawaks and conquered them. Beginning in the 16th century, the area was explored by French, Spanish and English explorers. A century later, the Dutch and English established plantation colonies along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana plains. Disputes between the Dutch and the English were resolved in 1667, when the Dutch kept Suriname while the English retained New Amsterdam, a small trading post in North America now known as New York City. The Dutch planters relied heavily on African slaves to cultivate the coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Many slaves escaped the plantations and, with the help of native South Americans, established Maroon villages, creating tribes that survive to this day. After several unsuccessful campaigns against the Maroons, the Dutch authorities signed several peace treaties with them in the 19th century, granting the Maroons sovereign status and trade rights. 

 
Although the Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname in 1863, the slaves were not fully freed until 1873, when they largely abandoned the plantations in favor of city life in Paramaribo.   Because it was a plantation colony, Suriname still depended heavily on manual labor, and to make up for the shortfall the Dutch imported laborers from the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia), India, the Arab world and China. As a result, Suriname's population is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the world. In 1954, the Dutch placed Suriname under a system of limited self-government, with the Netherlands retaining control of defense and foreign affairs. In 1973, the local government started negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards full independence, which was granted on November 25, 1975. The first President of the country was Johan Ferrier, the former governor. Nearly one third of the Surinamese population at that time emigrated to the Netherlands in the years leading up to independence, as many people feared that the new country would fare worse under independence than it did as an overseas colony. 
 
On February 25, 1980, a military coup under the leadership of Sergeant Major Desi Bouterse deposed the democratic government , beginning a period of economic and social hardship for the country. To solidify its hold on power, on December 8, 1982, the junta tortured and killed fifteen prominent opposition leaders, including journalists, lawyers, and labor union leaders. The Netherlands and the US suspended all foreign aid to Suriname after this event. Democracy returned to Suriname between 1991 and 1993, and free and fair elections have been held several times since. In an effort to remedy some of the wrongs of the past, Suriname is now trying Desi Bouterse and others for the December 1982 massacre, although problems locating witnesses willing to testify may pose a significant obstacle. Further, the Dutch government convicted Bouterse, in absentia, of drug crimes in 2000.
 
In order to take care of debts, in 2001, the Dutch gave the Surinamese a 10-year loan from the Dutch Development Bank for $125 million. The money was used to pay off foreign loans ($32 million), and the debts of the Central Bank of Suriname ($93 million). Despite these efforts to improve the Surinamese economy, the NF, or New Front for Democracy and Development party, lost its majority in the National Assembly in the 2005 election. Bourterse’s NDP, or National Democratic Party, more than doubled its representation in the Assembly, with Ronald Venetiaan, who represented a party part of the NF, being elected president. Meanwhile, Bourterse’s hearing testimonies began July 4, 2008, and the trial is still ongoing. 
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History of U.S. Relations with Suriname

The US and Suriname had normal relations from the latter’s independence in 1975 until the aftermath of the December 1982 massacre, when the US canceled foreign aid and relations cooled substantially. Relations were re-normalized in 1991 as Suriname began to re-institute democratic governance, and have become closer and more cooperative since that time. 

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Current U.S. Relations with Suriname

Noted Surinamese-American

Jimmy Smits is a prominent actor who has starred in multiple Star Wars movies, NYPD Blue, and Saturday Night Live. His mother is Puerto Rican and his father is from Suriname.
 
Since 2000, in an effort to strengthen civil society and bolster democratic institutions, the US has provided aid to Suriname’s military and justice systems. Further, the US Peace Corps has 44 volunteers in Suriname working with the Ministry of Regional Development and rural communities to encourage community development in Suriname’s remote interior. 
 
The US has also aided the Surinamese police department by donating databases, computers, cars, and radio equipment. The US is now concerned with Suriname in an economic sphere, as its newly open economic rules have increased US exports and investments in the area. The US is also one of Suriname’s most prominent trading partners. Suriname is now trying to use the US and other foreign investors to develop its natural resources (which are hidden in its remote interiors), and finance infrastructure development. The country is also trying to modernize itself, and the US has partnered with Suriname in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
 
With respect to tourism, 4,699 Americans visited Suriname in 2005, and 4,465 visited in 2004. 5,266 Surinamese visited the U.S. in 2006. The annual number of tourists has remained very close to 5,000 since 2002.
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Where Does the Money Flow

The economy of Suriname is dominated by bauxite, the ore from which aluminum is made, which accounts for more than 15% of its GDP and 70% of export earnings. Suriname’s 2008 GDP was $2.88 billion and its GNP was $3.67 billion. Its imports consisted of 24.8% machinery and transport equipment, 15.6% mineral fuels, lubricants, and related goods, and 24.8% of other commodities. Suriname’s major exports for 2008 consisted of mainly metal ores and scraps and other crude materials. The US-based multinational Alcoa, through its subsidiary Suralco, owns most of the bauxite industry in Suriname, giving that company a major stake in Suriname’s stability. Other main exports  include rice, bananas and shrimp. Suriname has recently started exploiting some of its sizeable oil and gold reserves. Theseoffshore oil reserves had previously remain untapped pending a dispute with neighboring Guyana over the maritime border between the two countries, which was resolved only in 2007. 

 
Although about a quarter of the people work in the agricultural sector,the Surinamese economy is dependent on international trade, its main trade partners being the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and the Caribbean countries. 
 
Trade between the US and Suriname is small and tilted toward the US. US imports from Suriname in 2007 totaled $129.5 million, dominated by industrial inorganic chemicals (mainly bauxite and aluminum) ($94.5 million or 72.9%) and fish and shellfish ($23 million or 17.7%). US exports to Suriname totaled $305.9 million for the same year, led by chemicals ($75.1 million or 24.5%); industrial machinery ($42.8 million or 13.9%); food products ($26.8 million or 8.7%); furniture, household appliances and other household goods ($17.5 million or 5.7%); computers and telecommunications equipment ($12.8 million or 4.2%) and cars, trucks and parts ($12.6 million or 4.1%). 
 
Suriname received $509,000 in aid from the U.S. in 2007, all of which was dedicated to Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform, with $81,921 budgeted for exporting defense articles and services.The 2008 budget estimate dipped to $199,000,  while the 2009 budget requestedf or $380,000.   The 2010 US Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations budgeted a total of $1,131,000 for Suriname,. The majority of this money is going into foreign military financing, with the specific goal of fighting drug trafficking.
 
more less
Controversies

The US used Suriname to test new army vehicles in 2008 in an abandoned bauxite mining area in Moengo, which is in eastern Suriname. These tests lasted 100 days, and some members of the Surinamese parliament about the effect of these military operations on the local people and land. The Head of the Planning and Development Department at the Defense Ministry ensured people that the tests would be fully monitored and would not hurt the environment or the Surinamese in any way. Stryker Light Armored Vehicles, which are combat vehicles used by the military, were tested. The Strykers are used in urban areas where their lightness is favorable.

more less
Human Rights

The government of Suriname is a constitutional democracy with a president and unicameral legislature and constitutional democracy. In 2005, the United People’s Assembly reelected Ronald Venetiaan president. Although overall human rights fared well in Suriname, there have been some violations. These include guards mistreating detained prisoners, prison overcrowding, self-censorship of the media, which has been used to doing this because of Suriname’s history with intimidation by military leaders. Furthermore, the government has been accused of  corruption, discrimination against women, minorities, and natives. There has also been increased use of child labor in undocumented sectors of society. With such a diverse population, however, the Surimamese do enjoy freedom of religion.

 
One of the main issues affecting the country is the ongoing trial of former head of state Desi Bouterse, who has been charged with murder, amongst other crimes, after torturing and then  killing 15 people. Although these events happened more than 25 years ago, Amnesty International has praised the judicial system, which might finally give the families of those killed proper justice that is long overdue.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes served as US Ambassador to Suriname from September 28, 2006, until October 16, 2009, having previously served in Suriname as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2000 until 2002. Hughes was born in 1958. She earned her B.A. from Rutgers University in New Jersey and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law, conducted research in International Commercial Arbitration for the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University in New York City, and in 1997 earned her M.S. in National Security Strategy at the National War College. Schreiber Hughes joined the diplomatic service in 1985. Quito, Ecuador, was her first overseas assignment, and she has also served in Havana. Washington assignments at the State Department have included Director, Office of Andean Affairs (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela); Economic Officer (Cuba), and Chief, Agricultural Development Division (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Program). Outside of the State Department, she has served on the President’s staff at the White House, as Director for Consular Affairs and International Programs on the Homeland Security Council. Schreiber Hughes is a member of the bars of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the District of Colombia. She speaks Spanish, understands some French, and is working to improve her Dutch. Though she has refrained from making political contributions herself, her husband, Eric Peter Salonen, donated more than $29,000 to various Democratic candidates and causes between 2000 and 2008.

 
Name: J. Owen Zurhellen, Jr.
Appointment: February 18, 1976
Presentation of Credentials: March 25, 1976
Termination of Mission: Left post June 2, 1978
 
Name: Nancy Ostrander
Appointment: May 25, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: June 29, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post July 8, 1980
 
Name: John J. Crowley, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 30, 1980
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 25, 1980
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 10, 1981
 
Name: Robert Werner Duemling
Appointment: Jul 22, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 4, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 24, 1984
 
Name: Robert E. Barbour
Appointment: Sep 27, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 25, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 23, 1987
 
Name: Richard C. Howland
Appointment: Nov 6, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 9, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post May 16, 1990
 
Name: John P. Leonard
Appointment: Oct 30, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 11, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 1, 1993
 
Name: Roger R. Gamble
Appointment: Oct 8, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 23, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 20, 1996
 
Name: Dennis K. Hays
Appointment: Feb 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 14, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 14, 2000
Note: Hays served as Executive Vice President of the conservative Cuban American National Foundation beginning in May 2000.
 
Name: Daniel A. Johnson
Appointment: Jun 14, 2000
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 29, 2000
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 3, 2003
 
Name: Marsha E. Barnes
Appointment: Jul 1, 2003
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 8, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 27, 2006
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Suriname's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Kross, Jacques

Jacques Ruben Constantijn Kross became ambassador of Suriname to the United States on February 22, 2007. Among his academic credentials, he holds a Master of Laws degree from Suriname’s Anton de Kom University. He has served as a member of the National Election Bureau and Chairman of the Surinamese team of the Joint Surinamese-Dutch Anti-Narcotics Steering Committee. In 2003, he chaired the Surinamese team during negotiations between his country and Brazil on a range of issues, including treaties for extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters. More recently, he served as Suriname’s Minister of Labor, followed by stints as Minister of Social Affairs and Public Housing, and more recently as Director of the Ministry of Justice and Police. In addition to being the ambassador to the US, Kross serves as Suriname's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).

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Suriname's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Suriname

Anania, Jay
ambassador-image

On April 11, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jay Nicholas Anania to be the next Ambassador to Suriname, which is the smallest independent nation in South America and the only independent Dutch-speaking nation in the Western Hemisphere. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, Anania is expected to be confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

 

Born circa 1960 in Silver Spring, Maryland, Anania earned a B.A. in History at Kenyon College in 1981 and an M.B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the Foreign Service in 1985, serving early foreign postings at the consulate general in Tijuana, Mexico; at the Interests Section in Havana, Cuba; and at the embassies in Amman, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong, China, where he served as management officer from 1999 to 2002.

 

In Washington at the State Department, Anania served as director of the Office of Management Policy from 2002 to 2005 and acting chief information officer in the Bureau of Information Resource Management from 2005 to January 2006. In 2003, he established and led the department’s Office of Rightsizing the U.S. Government Overseas Presence. From 2006 to 2009, Anania was minister-counselor for Management Affairs at the embassy in Berlin, Germany, where he also served for seven months as acting deputy chief of mission. From 2009 to 2011, he served as executive director of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Since 2011, he has served as management counselor at the embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

 

Anania and his wife, Lourdes, have a college-age son named Nicholas.

-Matt Bewig

 

Jay Anania (by Kellie Lunney, Government Executive)

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