In Suriname, the Coronavirus Pandemic Dislodges a Once-Unmovable Strongman

Surinamese President Desi Bouterse observes a military parade after being sworn in for his second term, in Paramaribo, Suriname, Aug. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Ertugrul Kilic).
Surinamese President Desi Bouterse observes a military parade after being sworn in for his second term, in Paramaribo, Suriname, Aug. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Ertugrul Kilic).
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Any doubt that the coronavirus pandemic can transform political realities was erased Monday when one of the world’s most entrenched strongmen was formally swept out of power in the tiny South American nation of Suriname. The National Assembly, Suriname’s legislature, officially named Chan Santokhi, a former police chief who prevailed in elections in May, to replace longtime President Desi Bouterse. Grounds for removing Bouterse, who was convicted of murder last year, have never been in short supply. But it took the pandemic and Bouterse’s spectacular mismanagement to bring an end to his rule. Until the coronavirus arrived, Bouterse withstood challenge […]

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