Today both sides in the pro and anti boycott Aruba looked to the US State Department for their support in the ongoing events that was once known as the Natalee Holloway investigation and now has become a spirally mess. Alabama Governor, Bob Riley, failed to get State Department approval for the boycott that he called for yesterday to put pressure on those in Aruba to properly investigate the Natalee Holloway disappearance and properly communicate with Natalee’s families.
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, who called for the nationwide boycott of the Caribbean island, began sending letters to other governors asking them to join him, and an Alabama senator asked the State Department to support Riley’s call. But the agency seemed to have no immediate plans to restrict travel to the Dutch territory.
“There is currently no U.S. boycott or travel restrictions on U.S. citizens visiting Aruba — I am unaware of any plans to change that,” said Kurtis Cooper, a State Department spokesman.
Before those in Aruba start celebrating and before the web-site for the Aruban Strategic Communications Task Force begins to get too gleeful a couple of things should be kept in mind. For one that decision was as of today. The other is I think many would be surprised if the United States State Department ever would put travel sanctions on Aruba. However, nothing is out of the realm of possibility and one only knows what was discussed between Condoleezza Rice and Beth Twitty when they met in Alabama a couple weeks back.
That being said I truly hope for Aruba’s sake that they comprehend and understand what the definition and ramifications are of a boycott and stop playing these ridiculous games. If Aruba is defining “boycott” as one being called for by a Federal Government (State Department) in the realm of travel restrictions they are sorely missing the point. The United States of America is comprised of 50 States that can make decisions on whether or not to back a “boycott” of Aruba. Governor Riley indicated the other day that such a boycott that he was calling for was not legally binding and that it was voluntary. I would truly ask the Aruban officials to stop with the games and just see the requests that the family is asking for. A fair investigation and communication with the family. Is that really too much to ask for?
The Freedom of Speech in the United States is extended to how people see fit to spend their hard earned money. Those choices extend to who or what they wish to do with their money, the products they buy, and where they travel on vacation. Aruba, anyone can ask for a boycott. The State Department has no right to stop any such announcement. Initially a radio station in Alabama called for a boycott. The State Legislature in AL passed a boycott resolution over the summer and now the Governor of AL called for one yesterday. Ground support for such actions are generally predicated on the validity of the call to arms and the actions and reactions of those that the boycott is being called against. Everyone has seen how poorly the Natalee Holloway case has been handled. Deputy Chief of Police Dompig has pretty much had to begin the investigation at square one as so many mishaps and mistakes have been made along the way. The Aruban Prime Minister had even admitted that mistakes were made.
For someone who has admitted mistakes were made and promised Beth Twitty and the Holloway and Twitty families that they would continue searching for Natalee Holloway after the three suspects were released from Aruba jail.
The Prime Minister was forthcoming in his statement as he pledged results to the Holloway-Twitty family and assured Arubans that their search for Natalee would not be in vain. “We will continue to demand that the search for answers into what happened to Natalee will not cease.” Prime Minister Oduber
Prime Minister Oduber this is hardly the way to conduct oneself in reaction to a boycott. One might also say this is how one would muster support in opposition against your cause. In a Diario article entitled, Headline reads: Aruba doesn’t complain about Alabama for their 132 missing citizens , PM Oduber holds up a list of missing children and adults from Alabama and some how this is supposed to mean something? Are you serious? This is how the head of a government reacts? No wonder the Holloway and Twitty family have lost all confidence in Aruba to solve the disappearance of their daughter. I had wondered what it would take to actually make Dave Holloway lose his patience; this must be it. This is nothing short of a PR nightmare for Aruba and someone needs to step in quick.
The Prime Minister of Aruba reacted in a press conference that he won’t be asking for Governor Riley to change his Attorney General to investigate the 132 missing persons in Alabama”. Here he showed a document obtained via the Internet, which shows all the persons who have gone missing in
Full translation of the Diario article and the PM’s comments: ‘Aruba Doesn’t Complain About Alabama for their 132 Missing Citizens’
Other than the fact that this is absurd and juvenile behavior by a Countries leader lets just understand some facts that I guess the PM seems to overlook. Aruba is a country of approximately 72,000 citizens. The State of Alabama has approximately 4.5 million people residing in it. Although any missing person whether they be adult or child is one too many lets just get the facts straight. The number of missing people in AL for 2005 is approximately 35 to date and when factored into the total population of the state that equals about 1 per every 128,000. Mr. Prime Minister Aruba is presently at 1 per 72,000. Although this is no way to discuss missing persons because of the fact that each one is so precious to each family; making the comment that you made sir is simply pathetic and offensive.
It is hard to imagine that the response of the PM who claimed they would continue to search for Natalee Holloway would act in this manner. I will remind everyone including the Honorable PM of Aruba that this is about a missing teenage girl who’s investigation has been nothing short of a catastrophe. The family just wanted to be dealt with in a professional, compassionate and respective manner and your answer to a boycott is to reference other unfortunate missing persons and their families? Honestly this is one of the most insensitive and sophomoric comments I have seen in quite some time.
No one wants to boycott Aruba. A family was forced into a last option to bring pressure on an island to do the right thing and do the right thing by Natalee. By the mere reaction one can see the reason why the family felt that they needed to do this. It will be up to individual people to chose for themselves. No one will force Americans to go or not go to Aruba, that is the freedom of choice that exists in America.
Aruba, it is not the State Department or the US Government that you have to fear of a boycott. It is the grass roots movement out there where people themselves provide their own brand of justice to remedy a situation. I can only hope that someone in Aruba with some influence or who comprehends PR talks to your officials. Aruba, you may consider your tourism sacred, but what everyone is failing to comprehend that those in America consider our children our greatest resource and National treasure.