Published On: Mon, Jun 3rd, 2013

The Death of Helmin Wiels: One Month On

Helmin WielsThe Loss of a Leader

Though shockwaves were felt sparsely throughout the rest of the world, both the Caribbean contingent islands and many of the nations which act to constitute Latin America are still feeling the repercussions of the assassination of Helmin Wiels, almost one month after the tragic and unexpected event occurred.

As a prominent and outspoken leftist politician, an anti-corruption activist and a trained social worker, Mr Wiels found distinction during the last few years of his life as the leader of the Pueblo Soberano (English: Sovereign People), the largest political party in the nation of Curacao at this time.

Gunned down in cold blood as he made his weekly trip to a local fish market on May 5th, the police investigation into the death of this popular yet somewhat divisive politician and social figure remains on-going, as do the shockwaves which have arisen as a result of his untimely demise.

The Agenda of Pueblo Soberano

Pueblo Soberano is a political party in its relative infancy, with just three years in office so far- despite being the largest and most widely supported group of its kind on the island of Curacao.

Of all of the party’s primary political agendas and goals, the most prominent is that of gaining Curacao full independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Though fully realizing such a goal as a very distant one, positive progress has been made in recent years with the dissolution of the Dutch Antilles in 2010 certainly acting as a major milestone within the overall process.

Other goals set by the Pueblo Soberano include minimizing Curacao’s prominence as part of the United States of Americas driven anti-drugs war in the Caribbean/Latin America. A policy which is by and large intended to improve relations with neighboring nations in light of the islands hosting of a US military aircraft utilized solely in this manner, as well as to bring about some form of domestic neutrality in light of the islands pivotal role within such a currently illicit industry.

Drug Trafficking in the Caribbean

For countries such as Curacao the production, mediation and transportation of illegal drugs is a business with a huge amount of potential.

Dealing mostly in cocaine, Latin American nations such as Columbia and Venezuela have become infamous within the international community in recent decades, as a result of their capabilities in supplying illegal drug markets worldwide with a product of both a high and consistent standard. Though considered by many developed nations world-over as an abusive substance which must be controlled, cocaine is little more than a native crop within many of the communities which produce it.  Though produced legally much of the time in nations of origin, the real trouble with cocaine arises with its exportation and eventual sale as a recreational drug for consumption. While Curacao is no stranger to a little international heat over the topic, its contribution towards such illegitimate activity is comparatively small when compared to its Caribbean neighbors. Currently, the Dominic Republic, located just a few hundred miles north of Curacao is regarded as the centre for international cocaine export in the Caribbean.

The Future of Curacao

As the investigation into the death of Mr Wiels continues, it is anticipated that both the culprit(s) and their motivation will surface, bringing with them yet more conflicting voices and opinions on the future of this tiny island nation.

Since the assassination, the five existing members of Parliament representative of Pueblo Soberano have resigned their roles within the party in order to form a new group named ‘Akshon Sivil’ (Civil Action), citing the reason why as their groups unwillingness to grant Ivar Asjes the Prime Ministership, as was their late leaders posthumous wish. With the presumed intention of separating themselves from a group formed on the grounds of anti-corruption, it is as of yet unclear as to whether or not this splinter group intends to pursue similar politics to their former party.

Despite the rocky time Pueblo Soberano and its constituents have suffered over the course of the past month, the party insist that their politics will continue true to form in sight of the loss of their leader. With each empowered party in parliament expected to announce their candidates for ministerial positioning within the next day or two, it should be business as usual once again, hopefully sooner rather than later.

By: Melissa Hathaway for Curacao Chronicle

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