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Populism in the Caribbean; Conclusions

Populism in Curaçao is a correction to the liberalism that sometimes become isolated from public opinion and the views of the common people. But it is also a consequence of the debate on decolonization. In Curaçao the conditions for populism to develop are present. The elites are under heavy pressure. The majority is poor and institutions are heavily criticized. The media in Curaçao are pervasive and invasive. Populism is growing. But the practical answers that populists provide appear to perpetuate the weaknesses of the original system, or reinforce them, while only the occupants of various positions change. This appears to be a feature of populism all over the world.

Populism in Curaçao includes a powerful combination of a number of generic and local factors, namely the inclination to conspiracy theories, a preference for direct democracy, anti-colonialism, ethnicity, socialism, religion, patronage and nepotism.

Further research could focus on comparing several case studies (comparative crucial case studies) and further develop the theories of populism. One interesting comparable case would be that of Surinam. Surinam shares much of its history with Curaçao. Both were colonies of the Netherlands and Surinam is now an independent republic, having obtained its independence from the Netherlands in 1975. Surinam and Curacao are former partners within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. So there are also important differences; Surinam is in South America. However, from the point of view of political organization, the comparison may be instructive, because Surinam is currently governed by a populist president, elected in 2010.


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