By Cintia Garcia
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
PARAMARIBO, SURINAME—The small country of Suriname, located in the Northeastern coast of South America, is suffering an economic crisis similar to that in Venezuela. The economy is in free fall due to the collapse of global commodity prices. Surnime’s local currency slid against the U.S. Dollar by half.
Suriname is facing the third highest rate of inflation in the world, following Venezuela and South Sudan. According to the Bureau of Statistics in Suriname, “inflation is running at an annualized 64%, up from an average 4% in 2013-2015.” This has led to a national crisis in which businesses are closing, food prices have increased, and hospitals are unable to run because they do not have basic supplies such as bandages. The country relies heavily on its exports of gold and oil, for which the global prices have fallen. In addition to falling prices, the Alcoa Aluminum Refinery, a staple in the economy, closed its doors last year. The president of the country, Desi Bouterse spent heavily before the 2015 elections and exhausted the currency reserves. President Bouterse has refused to listen to the suggestions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the IMF authorized a 478-million-dollar loan to the country in May. The president believes, “the IMF requirements are very harsh and that his government may move to withdraw from the loan agreements and seek support from another source.”
The citizens of Suriname are being hit the hardest. Hospitals can no longer sustain themselves and provide medical care. Manodj Hindori, chairman of the National Hospital Council, stated that “all the country’s hospitals are on the verge of bankruptcy because of higher prices for supplies combined with reduced government subsidies.” According to the New York Times, doctors are pleading for help from Surinamese living abroad to donate supplies like sterile tubes.
The Suriname government insists that the economic crisis will pass when gold and oil prices improve. And the president is hopeful that production by the US based Newmont Mining Corporation set to operate later this year will boost the economy.
For more information, please see: