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As Illegal Gold Miners and Prostitutes Brazilians Are Shunned in Suriname

Suriname attack Brazilian professor Maria Célia Coelho, a teacher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro who has done research on Brazilian prospectors in Suriname, says relations between Brazilians and the so-called maroons in Suriname have always been difficult and that after the attacks on Christmas Eve they have gotten worse.

The trouble on Christmas Eve took place in a border town, Albina, where it seems a Brazilian killed a maroon after an argument about a debt. There were around 100 Brazilians in the town.

It is reported that shortly after the murder around 300 maroons attacked the Brazilians expelling them from the town violently. Many of the Brazilian women were raped.

Maroons are descendants of African slaves brought to the former Dutch colony. Many of them became runaways living fiercely independent lives in the jungle. In 1863 slavery was abolished. Today many maroons still live in the jungle where they prospect for  gold.

Brazilians have become a small presence in Suriname over the last twenty years or so, since mining operations were closed in the Brazilian Amazon region. Almost all of them are in the country illegally and work in mining or prostitution. As prospectors they are in direct competition with the maroons.

Maria Célia Coelho says a fragile deal was worked out where the Brazilians paid the maroons 10% of what they made. But that is not considered sufficient because the maroons really want exclusive rights for themselves – they want the Brazilians to leave.

Ms Coelho explains that for the Brazilian government the situation is complicated. “They are Brazilians in another country illegally. How do you help them? What really should be done is to remove them. Assist the women who were raped. I don’t think Brazil can do more than that because the whole thing is illegal,” she said.

ABr

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  • Show Comments (2)

  • Peter McMillan

    Brasil should ask Surinam to prosecute criminals
    Albina is on the border of Surinam and French Guyana. The murder of the Maroon was a crime and should be punished. So too the raping innocent women in revenge. Surinam is a soveriegn country with laws. Brazil and Surinam need to address the issue of immigration and decide whether to grant the Brazilian permanent residency or return them to Brazil. In any event no has the right to commit crimes: Maroon or Brazilian.

  • Forrest Allen Brown

    brasil will never act on this
    as it does not see any of its people that live outside of brazil as being or doing any thing illeagle.

    first you would have to prove rape or a bad business deal ????

    where is the bordor there ? when i was there it was undefined at best the brazilians said Albina was in brazil and the maroon people were brazilians or formor slaves of brazilians whitch made them brazilians.

    I have seen brazilian military in albina with there guns was that a armed invasion by brazil or just men picking up food they can not buy any where ealse

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