Remembering Helmin, Hero of Decolonization

–This article first appeared on May 6, 2014 for Caribbean Worldwide Network–

The short lived fable that Curaçao instantly would establish an affluent nation after the October 10, 2010 dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, unchaining herself from the guardian responsibility of the smaller sister islands St.Maarten, Saba, St. Eustia and Bonaire was bound to end as it was constructed upon the ruins of deception of political and corporate leadership in the Dutch Caribbean orchestrated by the kingdom government in the Hague, Netherlands. The so-called negotiations for the magical 10-10-10 constitutional reform which for most of the times were led by political parties representing the old power elite -who never intended to democratize their distribution channels of wealth- favored to trade political autonomy for $1.7 billion debt relief resulting in an ordinary Dutch neo-colonialism sweetheart deal. They supervise the country’s finances and justice department and Curaçao gets a muzzled autonomous governmental voice until their budget management skills internalized the neoliberal IMF/Worldbank standards.

The media outlets ruled by economic interests never ceased the propaganda and manipulation to shift the attention away from the anti-colonial activism rivals, the easy way out has always been the beggars route and never the path of holding the Netherlands and the creole elite accountable for their decolonialization fiasco of all the six islands including Aruba. This Dutch historical financial wreckage of their Caribbean territories never received scrutiny from political and academic spaces to shape new ways of decolonial thinking before making life impacting decisions like the 10-10-10 juncture. Especially right now when the Caribbean community member states (CARICOM) is stratagizing their 10 point reparations plan seeking a “moral, ethical and legal case for the payment of
reparations by the former colonising European countries to the nations and people of the Caribbean, for native genocide, the transatlantic slave trade and a racist system of chattel slavery.”
Until 10-10-10 the periods of emancipatory adminstrations were extremely rare, the elections won by MFK, MAN and Pueblo Soberano ushered a new era where parliament member Helmin Wiels as an independentista leader in a forced lesser evil coalition attempted to consolidate this historic opportunity and govern via his ministers with a sovereign blackness swing. Under his hourglass the power elite emotions flared up as discussions were raised that Afro-Curaçaoan culture is the dominant culture, the statue of Peter Stuyvesant the peg-legged 1642-44 governor of Curaçao the Dutch West Indian Company’s symbol of Dutch slavery got removed and the secondary pre-university school that carried his name got renamed after the sociologist Jandi Alejandro Paula amid 21st century colonial minded protests. Free education for secondary schools got implemented. Scholarships were given for colleges and universities in the region to combat the Dutch braindrain of hundreds of students leaving yearly for the Netherlands. Unashamedly agitating against the colonial racist drone blackface Zwarte Piet fest underscoring the miseducational element of breeding black inferiority feelings. Meanwhile his daily evening radio programs where he would concentrate on political education, geo-politics, slavery, colonialism and the cultural fabric it weaved into Curaçaoan society. People got more mouthy, analyzing the media moguls, colonial propaganda, learning labor rights, criticizing Dutch white supremacy, organizing and mobilizing, taking up health advice.

His social work experience and instincts earned by sustaining the destitute in the parishes of the low income working class for the governmental department of culture urged him to develop a vision to invest into his peoples by initiating them into an educational program of the history of black, political, economical, cultural and social struggle in Curaçao converting them in designers of their own destiny.

People say May 5th, 2013 is considered a day that Curacao lost its innocence when the highly esteemed politician was assassinated on the beach of Marie Pompoen, a neighborhood Wiels grew up in close to the city district Punda. A year has passed and it seems we haven’t succeeded -yet- to shake off the post-traumatic stress disorder.

The everyday peoples champ charm and folkloric creole up in your face gospel giving the low-down of the creole white and black elite’s power structures was what captured the affection of the underprivileged masses. If you have sufficient socio-political clout to bring forth big changes you automatically attract forces that wish to put you in a pine box. The power hungry will insist to shed blood when their financial interests are endangered by
determined minds like Wiels that vowed to fight corruption to redistribute the ill-gotten riches
among his beloved struggle class.
Even though his reputation for the last 2,5 years was clouded by a list of minor ideological missteps his untimely death has made people that used to curse, pray to see him beaten up wail and weep. His family and supporters are still mourning the transitioning of a prototype powerful Afro-Curaçaoan leader that dignified the downtrodden bottom people, on a mission to equalize the socio-economic fortunes and uplift them out of Black self-hate to become critical active shining citizens in an independent Curaçao.

”Raising awareness can be experienced as threatening. When you keep people ignorant, you can manipulate and stay in power but the moment people start overstanding who the powerful are and how they operate you get a power passage which is impossible to escape from.” Having seen so much unnecessary poverty on the island within a filthy rich Dutch kingdom Wiels observed that these poor conditions were “like everything else, a symptom. Inequality is the real problem in our society. One side of the street you have upscale Sun Valley on the other side youths growing up in misery. If your cradle is in Ser’i Fortuna, you lost. And this will stay like this until that day the powerful, the capitalist representatives understand that they have to offer equal opportunities to the people. Governmental powers have failed the last forty years to combat inequality.
That’s why according to the United Nations Human Development Index 40% of the population in Curaçao lives in poverty and where 12% has more than 80% financial income. If you don’t take measures, this will result in a frontal confrontation. A revolution.” –

The greatness of Wiels besides his shortcomings attributed to the Dutch Coloniality Fatigue Matrix in which he had to manoeuvre, was that he displayed a live model how to flip the script and birth social transformation eradicating the played out neoliberal state of mind. Get active, read up on things, debate, reform the media to your benefits and emancipative agenda, organize stand up for your rights. Untame your heart from Dutch and domestic colonialism. Link up with the countries in your region, build connect. Show the financial overlords who be running things now. Deconstruct Institutional racism. Dismantle structural class oppression, banish and unlearn all thought patterns that praise creole capitalism.

The murder case trial is set for August 4, the hired killer and accomplices are behind bars and the intellectual assassination plot architects are identified and allegedly soon to be arrested.

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