Suriname. According to Countryaah.com, Suriname population in 2020 is estimated at 586,643. Dino Bouterse, President Desi Bouterses’s son, pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, illegal weapons possession and international terrorism at a New York court hearing in late August. The latter charge, which was about procuring fake Surinamese identity documents to Lebanese Hezbollah agents, was particularly troublesome, not least for President Desi Bouterse, who in 2010 appointed his son as head of Suriname’s counter-terrorism unit. The prosecutor applied for 15 years in prison for all three charges. President Bouterse himself was convicted in 1999 in his absence at a Dutch drug trafficking court.
Despite the chilly relations with the former colonial power of the Netherlands, which, in addition to the Bouterse case, was also based on allegations of human rights violations during the 1980–87 dictatorship, the foreign ministers of both countries Winston Lackin and Frans Timmermans declared at the end of September that diplomatic relations would be restored. Timmermans explained the complete reversal of the importance of safeguarding the historical cultural ties between the two countries rather than getting caught up in political disagreements.
With neighboring Guyana, however, relations continued to be strained during the year, mainly due to a multi-decade long border dispute over the Tigrio area (in Guyana called the New River Triangle). The area in southeastern Guyana is controlled by Guyana, and Suriname’s claims are expressed in maps that represent it as Surinamese territory. For that reason, Guyana boycotted an international mining and energy conference in Suriname’s capital Paramaribo in June. Foreign Minister Lackin commented that Suriname could very well go to war documents on the basis of their claims, if it were not for “war is expensive and money is best used for health care and education”.