Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan
(pronounced "roo-NAHL-doh RAH-nuhld ven-aye-ti-AHN")
"My election has allowed me to seek a solution in a peaceful manner… These difficulties will have to be overcome and the problems solved."
The Republic of Suriname (pronounced "suh-ri-NAM-uh," but also pronounced in English without the last syllable) is situated on the north central coast of South America and covers an area of 163,270 sq km (63,039 sq mi). More than 95% of the country's area was once covered by tropical forest, and efforts to preserve it have resulted in a loss of less than 10% to development. To the north lies the Atlantic Ocean, to the east French Guiana, to the south Brazil, and to the west Guyana. The population was estimated at 436,494 in 2002. More than 90% of the population is settled in the northern coastal region, the site of extensive plantation agriculture in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Movement out of agriculture has produced an urban sprawl around the capital city of Paramaribo with an estimated population of 180,000.
Dutch is the official language, but the majority speak Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, also known as Taki-Taki). Also widely spoken is Sarnami Hindostaans (a local Hindi dialect). There are also a number of tribal African and Amerindian tongues spoken by the Maroons (descendants of runaway slaves) and the Carib and Arawak groups living along the rivers of the interior and in other scattered locations. English, Chinese, French, and Spanish are also spoken. Ethnically the population is a rich composite of peoples, most of them brought to the country by the Dutch to work on sugar and other plantations: Creoles (descendants of intermarriage between Europeans and Africans) make up about 31% of the population, Hindustanis (from India, also known as East Indians) about 37%, Javanese 15%, Maroons 10%, Amerindians 2%, Chinese 2%, and others (including Dutch and Lebanese) 3%. The population also exhibits a rich variety of religious faiths: Protestants and Catholics each comprise about half of the total Christian community, making up 48% of the population. Hindus add another 27%, Muslims 20%, and smaller numbers of Jews, Buddhists, and animists round out the figures.
The currency unit is the Surinamese guilder. Suriname's primary export products are alumina, rice, bauxite, aluminum, shrimp, and bananas.
Z.E. De President van de Republiek Suriname