Photo: Han de Bruijne
Suddenly there he was the unknown left wing radical soon to be politician of his Pueblo Soberano party Mr. Helmin Magno Wiels appearing on television screens and radio waves simultaneously across the island during prime time evening hours on Hit FM/Channel 24 after he broke his political contract with NPA (Niun Paso Atras -No Step Backwards) leader Nelson Pierre.
Mid September 2003 he and his comrades founded MAS (Movimiento Aliansa Sivil- Civic Alliance Movement) and 23 September undeniably will be marked as the uprising of our collective continuous socio-political cultural awareness.
Helmin Wiels a social worker who assisted the people in the neighbourhoods of the underprivileged and working class understood that for a change to erupt to better their impoverished situation you would need political historical, cultural social economical schooling.
His common folk orating style combined with academic vocab attracted people to sit down to look and listen to his Konsenshi Sivil (Civil Conscious) programs.
For those that witnessed the years before the revolution of 30th of May 1969 they would say Wiels reinvented the Vito magazine period led by Stanley Brown who informed, inspired the disenfranchised the laborers to stand up against injustice.
Others would compare him to the People National Party statesman Doctor Dacosta Gomez advocate of elevating his constituents to a higher political consciousness in the 40’s late 50’s and the main negotiator of the Kingdom Charters of 1954.
The historically and culturally ignorant compare him to the Dutch Geert Wilders. Some like to embrace him as the Hugo Chavez from Curacao which he himself in the beginning had a great affinity for.
From 2003 to 2005 his media dominance would grow by exposing creole politburo’s,
elite networks, the political patronage system, shady entrepreneurs. Many eyes (re)opened as he broke down how the financial sector, banks and insurances make their profits. Explaining the mismanagement of education, sports, health sector and public companies.
Making people aware how certain people own industries and economies and the illicit history behind it. How popular neighbourhoods came into existence, the history of Dutch Royal Shell and catolicism. The tragedy of slavery and its consequences for Curacaoan citizens.
He was basically covering all the newsworthy facts that the media was afraid to unleash and often while lambasting his opponents and perpetrators media barons and journalists would feel his critical fury too.
One of the political issues that made him gain fame and great notoriety was the incessantly attention given to new Dutch colonial attempts of constitutional re shuffling of all the Netherlands Antilles islands.
While union, political, civic society, religious leadership was in a state of total paralysis Wiels and his team grinded from day to day the airwaves to awaken his audience, create a public debate and prepare the masses for the coming constitutional referendum of 2005.
Political opportunism made it obvious that nobody was interested by the proposal of MAS to include the referendum with a Free Associated State option.
April 8 2005 via media manipulation and political constitutional ignorance option A won: a self governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 67,83%
Due to differences unknown at that time Wiels had to stop his program at 100.3 FM/Channel 24. Eventually a new radio station Top FM 93.3 welcomed him but after a while the government seated PAR party affiliated lottery patron named Robby Dos Santos blackmailed the owner to stop his program. If I’m not mistaken this was after the Final Declaration political feud.
In 2006 after the supposedly negotiated Final Declaration of 2nd of November a small protest group led by Wiels pressured a majority of the island counsel to vote against the Final Declaration the neo-colonial constitutional blueprint molded by the Dutch government which made the island government in Curacao collapse on 28th of November.
While looking for yet another radio station he continued his program on the internet at http://www.pueblosoberano.org making him the first to do so ever.
Negotiations with the christian radio New Song didn’t result in anything concrete and finally through an elaborate off shore hook up with a radio station in Bonaire, thanks to Mr. Feliciano Piloto owner of Voz di Bonaire he is still going strong celebrating his 8 years existence via fm and internet despite all the boycotts and media coup attempts from political enemies.
Nowadays political parties like PAR and PNP eight years behind schedule copy his format but remain ineffective because the lack of real interest to create a civil movement which would inevitably result in the downfall of their political establishment.
Helmin Wiels presence in the media was felt in all corners of society. Friend and foe acknowledged him to be well documented. Labeled a troublemaker an instigator by the economic elite only made him more popular and its nonsensical that they never had the ability to create a political counterbalance.
Informing his audience on international issues and later on carefully launching his independence stance. Which many pro independence advocates in the beginning applauded.
If it wasn’t for Wiels and his peoples we still would have a tamed opiniated population.
He gave the voiceless a megaphone where as mainstream media ignored them. In the evening the uncensored version of life in Curacao could be heard through everyone’s speakers.
A real scientific research would point out more clearly how people responded to his programs but as years passed by you could notice
1 and a half to two hours a day six days a week had its rebelious effects on listeners.
If you had labor drama many times the employee would menace the employer with: “I’m going to Wiels if..”
He forced politics, union, corporate sectors to change through his program. Any false moves would be unveiled during these evening hours. Constitutional transitioning period would have probably been executed smoothly according to Dutch desire. But people should be grateful with Wiels up in the mix from the outside the outcome was altered.
Reminding his audience about the Black or Afro-Curacaoan experience and historic empowerment lectures also is noted and appreciated.
Looking back besides the sweet peoples victories there are negatives notes to this story:
His programs are suffering from a structurally absence of regional news. Especially if you wave the independence flag you should keep your peoples informed on developments in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and the rest of the Caribbean.
Many times the political bickering tunes getting played over and over again which make you want to go back to the days before intellectual activist Mario Kleinmoedig didn’t cut his ties with Wiels. The voices of the youth, senior citizens, women and LBGT are not being heard. That makes him act exactly the same like his political opponents he accuses of ruining Curacao society. Being part of the government coalition also made him slack his passionate criticism on the nepotism structures within the political system. This is a threat to his credibility which rapidly is crumbling amongst the sharp observers.
Six days in a week Helmin Wiels is an overkill. To his peoples but also to himself. 3 times per week would fit better and gives an opportunity to him to make regional connections for his independence cause and for other opiniated persons the chance to uplift the airwaves with debates, real live debates and knowledge of our community and create new leadership new change agents which his party needs to continue his political awareness revolution which Curacao in her fullness will benefit from when its approached with visionary delicacy.