Suriname's President Desi Bouterse (L) and Foreign Minister Winston Lackin
By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- While the government strongly disapproves of spying activities by the US, Suriname cannot fight possible cyber and electronic espionage by US agencies. The country lacks the technological capacity, manpower and capital to ward off any illegal prying of Washington, said minister of foreign affairs, Winston Lackin.
“We should not fool ourselves. We can’t do anything about that,” Lackin told reporters.
If there should be proof of any spying activity in Suriname by the US, “the only thing we can do is take notice,” said President Desi Bouterse, responding to questions regarding the alleged hacking of email of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico and the UN video conferencing system by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
“We are in the system and Big Brother is watching you,” the head of state added.
According to Lackin, not even “bigger countries” can stand against the US, let alone Suriname with less resources. In this respect, Lackin referred to the situation in Suriname where the seat of the government, the Frank Essed Building, where the Council of Ministers meets, is situated directly opposite the US embassy, with all kinds of modern communication equipment on the roof. He also referred to the ministry of foreign affairs, with the embassy of the Netherlands right in its backyard.
At their seventh regular summit in Paramaribo, the Council of Heads of State and Government of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) strongly rejected “the interception of telecommunications and espionage actions” in their countries by “the national security agency of the United States government, or whoever may be engaging in such activities”.
According to the UNASUR leaders, these espionage activities “constitute a threat to security and serious violations against the human, civil and political rights of international law and of our sovereignties and which damage relations among nations”.
Therefore, the South American Defence Council and Council for Infrastructure and Planning were ordered to assess cooperation with other competent ministerial councils and to move forward in their respective projects regarding cybernetic defence and the interconnection of the fiber optic networks in the UNASUR member states, whose objective is to make telecommunications more secure, strengthen the development of regional technologies and promote digital inclusion.