Foreign policy and defense
The ties are strong to the old colonial power
of the Netherlands. But the situation has often been
tense because of inadequate democracy in Suriname. When
former dictator Desi Bouterse returned to power in 2010,
relations deteriorated again.
Bouterse has been sentenced to eleven years in prison
in the Netherlands for cocaine smuggling, but cannot be
extradited under Surinamese law. The Netherlands has
been the most important donor, but the aid was withdrawn
during the dictatorship in the 1980s, during the
turbulence in the late 1990s (see Modern history), and
when an amnesty law for crimes committed during the
military dictatorship was adopted in Suriname in April
2012 (see Current policy). In 2012, the Netherlands also
decided to permanently revoke its ambassador and called
for international sanctions to be imposed against
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Suriname for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Relations with the United States and other Western
countries are also disturbed by the high profile of the
dictator Bouterses, as well as by Surinam's role as a
transit country for cocaine smuggling.
Surinam has been a member of the Caribbean
cooperation body Caricom since 1995. The country is also
connected to Unasur, which was supposed to be a kind of
South America's EU but which has mainly failed. Surinam
did not join the seven other South American countries
which in March 2019 instead formed the new body Prosur.
Guyana and Suriname have a border dispute over a
smaller land area in the southwest. They have also
disputed the Corentyne border and the boundary in
offshore offshore areas, where there may be large oil
deposits. However, in 2007, the UN Court of Appeal,
ITLOS, ruled that 35 percent of the disputed maritime
area would go to Surinam and 65 percent to Guyana.
Surinam also disagrees with French Guiana on a smaller,
uninhabited area in the southeast.
Following previous coups and revolts, Ronald Venetian
government and military leadership worked together to
strengthen civilian control over the military. However,
the military still has great influence.
FACTS - DEFENSE
1,400 men (2017)
The air Force
200 men (2017)
240 men (2017)