Boycott Watch  
June 17, 2010
Aruba Just Doesn't Get It
Summary: Five years after the murder of Natallee Holloway, Aruba either does not see or does not care about its own corruption.
   Five years after the disappearance and murder of Natallee Holloway in Aruba, nothing has changed on the island nation. Boycott Watch has written extensively about Aruba and the Natalee Holloway case, plus broken world headlines with our story about how Aruba lied about tourism numbers, claiming tourism was up because, as they claimed "Now everyone know about Aruba." We broke the story that Aruba tourism was actually down after the Holloway case because of the boycott. Aruba has yet to apologize about those lies and those lies showed the world they were more interested in bringing in more American tourism dollars than either solving the Holloway case or crime prevention. Recent comments by an Aruba reporter prove we are still right and that Aruba just doesn't get it.

   On his June 12, 2010 show on the Fox News Channel, Geraldo Rivera had Jasie Mansour of El Diario News in Aruba as a guest. Gerlado asked Jasie "Does Aruab want him back?" referring to Joran Van Der Sloot who is a Peruvian jail charged with the murder of Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramirez. Jasie responded: "We don't want him back. Let them keep him in Peru forever. … People are really angry with this character. … He put Aruba in a very negative light." Boycott Watch finds these comments alarming.

   First, Aruba is once again demonstrating to the world that they neither care about the whereabouts of the remains of Natalle Holloway, nor the emotional impact on Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalle. Considering what Beth Holloway has been through, this is nothing new. For years, Aruba has treated Beth Holloway as a pariah, not a parent. All Aruba wanted was to get the case to go away, something Beth Holloway did not let happen.

   Second, Van Der Sloot clearly wants to be in jail in Aruba not Peru, and who would blame him. Jail life in Aruba is much better than in Peru. He has already received death threats in Peru, including on his way to jail where he would be a lonely foreigner in a tough general prison population which considers the father of his most recent victim to be a national hero. If Aruba prosecutes him first, as Van Der Sloot wants so he can be jailed there, he will probably find a way to escape and run off to another country the way he did in Peru when he fled to Chile. Boycott Watch has previously reported that Aruba left a 30 foot ladder in their jail one night allowing a double murderer to escape, and that is exactly what can happen again in Aruba.

   Aruba has not changed and prefers to blame its own inadequacies on Joran Van Der Sloot. As Jasie stated, "People are really angry with this character." It's not his character which is the problem though. Aruba still thinks Van Der Sloot is the problem and not its own incompetence and corruption. Another example of that corruption was aired the same day on Fox when Greta Van Susteren had a guest who stated he saw Joran and his father Paulus bury Natalee at a construction site but was scared to say anything because Paulus had powerful government connections. Aruba continues to blame its woes on Joran while neglecting its own policy to allow rampant drug usage, underage drinking and the fishing for 13 year old tourist girls in hotel lobbies for statutory rape.

   Boycott Watch does not advocate any boycotts, but we question the wisdom of anyone who wants to go to Aruba because it is not safe. Law enforcement speaks volumes about a society. In nations like Iran and North Korea, people can be accused of a crime and you may never hear from them again. The opposite is true in Aruba as demonstrated by Joran Van Der Sloot in the Natallee Holloway case where Aruba has refused to charge him despite his previous confessions and the recent extortion case.

   Boycott Watch has a solution to the murder trial dilemma. If Aruba were to bring Joran Van Der Sloot back to get his story and reveal the location of the remains of Natalee Holloway, he will simply stall as long as he can to prevent going back to Peru. There is also the possibility of escape from the minimal security of Aruba jails plus legal wrangling preventing him from going back to Peru. Either way, Peru has no reason or incentive to move Van Der Slot to Aruba. Aruba offering legal defense is also not an option since he already confessed to both murders, most recently with the Holloway murder when he extorted money for the whereabouts of Natalees remains. That, therefore, is not a solution. After both murder trials, he would still face extortion and wire fraud charges in the U.S., so Joran is just looking for the best deal he can get in prison since he is not likely to ever be free again. Aruba can offer one thing - the whereabouts of Natalees remains in exchange for advocating on his behalf to keep him in solitary confinement and away from the general prison population which he clearly fears, and rightfully so. That, however, will not completely satisfy the American public, nor will it create the safe environment Americans expect. In the mean time, American tourism to Aruba is still down.

    Susan Tisdale contributed to this report.

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