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Unmasking Denial: The Urgent Need for Dissent in Curaçao's Democracy

Unmasking Denial: The Urgent Need for Dissent in Curaçao's Democracy


February 23, 2024


In the vibrant tapestry of Curaçao's landscape, beneath the surface of its scenic beauty, lies a troubling reality of denial. Denial not just of pressing issues like poverty, exodus, and the climate crisis, but also of a crisis looming within its very democratic framework. It's a crisis of dissent—a denial that dissent is being systematically oppressed.

In any democracy worth its name, dissent is not merely tolerated but celebrated. It's the lifeblood of progress, the engine of change, and the hallmark of a healthy political environment. Institutionalized in freedoms like expression, free press, and political opposition, dissent ensures that voices of dissenting opinions are heard, respected, and acted upon.

However, in Curaçao, this fundamental tenet of democracy is under siege. With each passing day, opposition voices in parliament face increasing disrespect and marginalization. Despite being granted immunity to speak truth to power, members of parliament find themselves sidelined and ignored when they dare to dissent.

These parliamentarians possess essential tools for dissent—rights to question, vote, and convene meetings—yet these tools are rendered impotent in the face of entrenched indifference. What was once considered the bedrock of democracy—the right to dissent—is now relegated to a mere formality, a token gesture towards inclusivity.

Democracy, in the eyes of many, has been reduced to a numbers game—a simple majority dictating the fate of dissenting voices. Questions from the opposition go unanswered, meetings requested by parliamentarians remain unattended, and the very essence of democratic discourse is stifled.

But perhaps what's most alarming is the tacit approval of this behavior by those in power and their supporters. Instead of upholding the principles of democracy, they endorse its erosion, perpetuating a culture where dissent is associated with disobedience and opposition with obstruction.

Yet, in the face of this mounting challenge, there remains hope. Hope in the human spirit's resilience, collective action's power, and ordinary citizens' courage to speak truth to power. It's a call to arms for every citizen of Curaçao, irrespective of political affiliation, to rise above fear and silence and reclaim the essence of democracy.

Let Curaçao serve as a beacon of democratic resilience—a place where dissent is tolerated and embraced, where opposition voices are not ignored but respected. Only then can we genuinely claim to be custodians of democracy, not just in rhetoric but in action.

It's time to unmask denial, to confront the crisis of dissent, and to reaffirm our commitment to the principles of democracy. For in the words of Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Let us not be silent witnesses to the erosion of democracy but active participants in its restoration and revitalization.

Miguel Goede

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