History repeats itself, it started with a race car and ended with a tram

I recently attended an event at the MFA Paradera celebrating the 15th anniversary of RED Democratico. It was a thinly attended occasion but it marked a milestone in our political history, a truly outstanding event, the coming together of the Aruban public, behind an idea, and in the course of coming together, they changed history, and gave birth to an opposition political party.

While small, they accomplished a lot in the last election and I wish them modest growth because without an active, caring opposition our democracy is short lived.

Happy birthday RED, I don’t really know much about your platform besides the desire to legalize weed, but the mere fact that you exist positively impacts our public life.

RED changed the course of history? No entirely, but certainly contributed.  I am referring to Colorado Hill, the racetrack in San Nicholas conceived by former MinPres Henny Eman as a way of revitalizing San Nicholas.

It started in February of 1999, when Ralph Sanchez, who developed the Homestead race course in Miami, received a phone call from Carlo Mansur, at the time a prominent businessman and developer here. Mansur invited Sanchez to come to Aruba for the purpose of developing a race course, the project eventually was conceived as a 2.7-mile, 14 turn road course, to be built to international safety standards, and scheduled for completion in September 2000.

Read the following super interesting file


The cast of characters in the crazy drama that followed also included Gilberto F. Croes, Jr., Franklin Abath, Elton Liue-A-Tjam, Robertico “Tico” Croes, Glenbert Croes, Mike de  Meza and many other familiar players, and what started as a  “gift from heaven” because “it was the first commercially and economically productive project that the government could attract for San Nicolas,” ended up costing you and me over US$ 20 million in penalties, plus, plus, by the time the project was flushed down the toilet in 2003.

GOA was forced to abandon the racetrack fantasy because of grand civil protests of this island’s environmental organizations and individual nature lovers.

I remember it was a grass root movement, Aruba Dushi Tera, that morphed into today’s RED. The third Eman cabinet buckled, elections were called in Sept 2001.

The gathering at the MFA acknowledged the involvement of Melva Croes, Leo Croes, Julie De Cuba, Henry de Cuba and Henry Coffi who were instrumental at the time, in organizing the well-attended manifestations in Seroe Colorado.   

The late Henri Coffi’s satirical writings are still relevant, and the event paid tribute to his sharp pen, and quick wit.

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June 08, 2018
Rona Coster