Desi Bouterse

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Desi Bouterse (October 13th, 1945 - ) is the controversial current president of Suriname since 2010, who formerly de facto ruled the country under a military dictatorship from 1980 to 1987 after leading a bloody coup in 1980. Under his military rule, press freedom was severely censored, strict curfews were imposed on citizens, democratic elections and political parties were abolished (the de jure presidents of Suriname at the time were put in place by the military), freedom of assembly was largely forbidden, and popular political opponents were murdered, such as was the case with the December Murders, carried out from December 7 to 9 in 1982, where fifteen popular men who had criticized his regime were tortured and shot dead. Bouterse is most infamous for the Moiwana massacre that his forces had committed in 1987during the Suriname Guerilla War which lasted from 1986 to 1990, a massacre where the remote Maroon village of Moiwana was plundered, having many of its buildings being burned down and around 40 people, mostly Women and Children, being murdered.

For a long time until 2006, Bouterse was a drug trafficker who trafficked large amounts of cocaine to Europe. Starting 1999, an international warrant was placed for arrest and he was sentenced to 11 years of prison by the Dutch government, which Bouterse argued he was innocent from.

Long after his dictatorship had ended and democratic elections came back, Bouterse ran for president and won the election in 2010. As president, Bouterse made February 25th, the anniversary of his violent coup, a national holiday while giving the highest formal honors in all of Suriname to the all the living individuals who helped him lead the coup and are believed to have also carried out the December Murders. He also passed a law calling for the termination of an ongoing trial from 2007 regarding the December Murders, which he never attended, believing it to be used by his political opponents for their benefit and to prevent Bouterse from holding office again.