From China with love

The love affair that started cautiously in 2016 between Curaçao and Guangdong Zhenrong Energy (GZE) to build a refinery, even though this group had never made one before, blossomed in 2017. By this time, GZE had promised to bail out GiroBank, build a Las Vegas-style entertainment strip, and sign MoUs with important local government-owned companies. All while, GZE was feeding lies regarding the refinery project. Less known is that Beijing was pushing hard to start a Confucius Institute (CI) with the University of Curaçao (UoC).

On paper, CIs are educational and cultural promotion programs under the Chinese Ministry of Education. In reality, they disseminate censorship and fake news on Tibet, Taiwan, and Tiananmen and whitewash China’s dismal human rights track record, such as the Uyghur case. It’s not hearsay. What stands out is the anti-Tibet and anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric I’ve seen in Mongolia, which practices the same form of Buddhism as Tibet. According to the European Journal of Education (2009, 44), CIs are also used to spy on Chinese abroad. CIs are not independent of the Chinese Communist Party. So, should the UoC, which promotes academic freedom, be involved with a regime that stifles freedom of expression and openly disregards basic human rights?

And countries are paying attention to CIs. In 2014, Stockholm University, the first European university to host a CI, terminated this program after its CEO had prohibited material about Taiwan (the Braga Incident). In Belgium, a CI was closed after its professor was accused of spying for China. Of the 118 CIs in the US, 104 were closed as of 2021. In the Netherlands, the CI associated with the University of Leiden was terminated in 2019. Currently, students at the University of Groningen are petitioning to end the CI associated with their university. Many petitioners are Chinese nationals who fear for their safety.

The deal between GZE and UoC did not prosper. Seems China’s “love” depended on the deal that didn’t prosper with the refinery newbies of GZE. The question remains what we were thinking then. Did we not see the writing on the wall? Or were we, including the silent media, willing to sell out and compromise academic freedom and democratic principles for empty promises? Hopefully, we will be better prepared when confronted with Beijing’s smoke and mirrors next time.

Want to get involved? See

Willemstad, Curaçao

Another day, another mass shooting

On 16 February 2023, I wrote about the countless mass shootings in the U.S. At that time, the mass shooting meter stood at 74. I said that when and only when decision-makers stop evangelizing guns, and when Americans wake up and realize that the time has come to redefine/reinterpret the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed,” ratified on December 15, 1791, could there be a significant change.

It should not be a surprise that I quickly got a comment which read: “Your implied point that it is our guns that cause our violence in America is simplistic and typically liberal. The lack of God and love [sic] of fellow humans combined with the complete breakdown of morals and family values have led America to where it is now. The belief that anyone or any government can remove guns from Americans is insane. Good luck with that!”

Is lamenting innocent people being slaughtered every day typically liberal? I think it is rather a typical reaction of a compassionate human being. Are people being killed because they lack God, most probably his God? When is enough enough? Hope it’s not when the commentator’s family members become victims.

Today the total of mass shootings stands at 215, with 299 killed and about 1,000 injured. I have a feeling I’ll soon write a follow-up article on this.

Willemstad, Curaçao

E frakaso di Munisipio Kòrsou

Eksaktamente 195 aña pasá, na 1828, Hulanda ta disdí na krea un Konseho Munisipal pa isla Kòrsou. Esaki tabata konsistí di un Presidente, dos diputado, i kuater konsehal. Na 1828 tambe a hinka tur seis isla Hulandes Karibense, plùs Sürnam den un kolonia ku ta goberná pa un Gobernadó General na Paramaribo. Den e struktura aki, Curaçao en onderhorigheden tabatin un Raad van Policie, na kabes un Direkteur ku mester a raportá na Paramaribo. Tambe tabatin 5 Raden van Policie (pa Aruba, Boneiru, Saba, Statia i St. Maarten). Pues, solamente Kòrsou tabata un munisipio. Tur esaki ta keda reglá den e Konstitushon di 1828.

E Konseho Munisipal di Kòrsou tabata e di tres nivel di gobernashon i e tabata ubiká den Kas Munisipal kaminda awe ta e edifisio di K.N.S.M. den Heerenstraat. E promé Presidente tabata Sr. H. Schotborgh i e di dos, Sr. Theodorus Jutting. E tareanan di e Konseho Munisipal tabata solamente di índole atministrativo i di kuido di iglesianan, kasnan di kuido pa hende pober, leproso òf ku enfermedat mental. Den práktika sinembargo e Konseho tabata fiha preis máksimo pa pan, karni di baka, porko, karné, kabritu i turtuga. Abou, un ehèmpel di un anunsio típiko den De Curaçaosche Courant di 26 juni 1830.

Bekendmaking. Secretarie van het Gemeente-Bestuur, den 25sten Juny 1830. Het Gemeente-Bestuurdezes Eilands, brengt ter kennis van en gelast by deze aan alle Broodbakkers dat de Brooden voor de volgende week te bakken het gewigt zullen moeten houden van 20 Oncen voor 15 Centen; terwyl de Fransche Brooden Een Oncen minder zullen kunnen wegen op pœne als by publicatie van den 16den Maart 1824.  

E Konseho Munisipal a frakasá pasombra e tabata falta outoridat pa aktua. Tur ‘desishon’ tabata provisorio te na momentu ku esaki keda aprobá pa Raad van Policie (riba nivel sentral pa e seis islanan) pa despues esaki bai Paramaribo pa ratifikashon. E a stòp di eksistí riba 15 aprel 1833, 190 aña pasá. Tur tarea di e Konseho Munisipal a pasa pa Raad van Policie. Den e Konstitushon di 1833, e lasonan konstitushonal nobo ta keda establesé.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

The Central Bank needs to get its act together

The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS), previously the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles, has been under fire for years. Deficient oversight of, among others, Ennia (an insurance company), Giro Bank, FCIB Bank, and dealings with a convicted criminal has affected its reputation. Integrity and ethical failures have characterized this institution which will not bode well with the upcoming peer review by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. It has mastered how to apply the lowest possible ethical standards that it can get away with. Yet, I’m not going to talk about these today. Neither will I mention the personal vendettas, conspiracy theories, revenge, and constant leaks of confidential information. Seems better if a producer adapts all this into a Colombian novela.

As part of the deal in 2008 to dissolve the Netherlands Antilles (NA) in 2010, it was decided that the NA guilder (Ang), would be maintained in the monetary union of Curaçao and Sint Maarten. “For a very short period, until the Ang is replaced by a new currency,” we were told in 2008. After that, the CBCS went silent on this matter. No reasons were given. Recently it announced that a new currency will be introduced. Will it happen this time? What’s certain is that Curaçao and Sint Maarten will go down in history as jurisdictions that have maintained the currency of a non-existent country for the longest time.

So why did Sint Maarten and Curaçao form a monetary union? The Netherlands did not trust Sint Maarten to have its own central bank. Simply a political decision. No monetary or macroeconomic arguments were used to arrive at this decision. I was the only one in the Council of Ministers who vehemently objected to forming this monetary union.

When countries dissolve into separate entities, as was the case with the NA, this is done so that each party can pursue its own policies. Parties of a monetary union must after all coordinate and/or harmonize certain macroeconomic policies. Why would they want to do that after just being separated? We decided, however, to ignore common sense and join a union, thinking that somehow it will spontaneously function and be a success by pretending it doesn’t even exist. Under this misguided premise, the union came into being. We have not taken measures for the convergence of macroeconomic policies. I dare anyone to find a meaningful passage in the government programs of Curaçao or Sint Maarten that refers to concrete matters on the coordination of policies. How many times have the Ministers of Finance of Curaçao and Sint Maarten or government employees sat down to discuss policy coordination? The fact is that macroeconomically, the two members of the union have drifted further apart since 2010. Does it make sense to continue without a profound investigation? Are we not aware of how the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank has been handling its monetary union since 1983? To make matters worse, every so often, Sint Maarten threatens to adopt the U.S. dollar making the union unnecessary.

It’s important to take stock and determine what we strive for with this union. Waking up after almost 15 years and pretending nothing has changed is a blunder.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Alex Rosaria is a former State Secretary of Finance (2006-2009). He is currently a freelancer in Asia and the Pacific, a fellow with the Caribbean Policy Consortium, and a member of the Global Americans’ Workgroup on Climate Change in the Caribbean.

Shon Lou, un gran dama, lo a kumpli 94 aña awe

Awe Lucina Elena da Costa Gomez née Matheeuws, Shon Lou manera mi tabata yam’é, lo a hasi 94 aña si e tabata na bida. Segun un señora yu di tera doktorá den sosiologia a yega di bisa mi basta tempu pasá: “Shon Lou ta e vershon di Kòrsou mas serka di Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” Mi ta reprodusí mi rekuerdonan di Shon Lou.

Mi a siña konosé Shon Lou na 2006, algun siman promé ku e promé elekshon na kua mi a partisipá. Mi a keda invitá pa su kompañero di bida, Sr. Juancho Evertsz (dfm), ku kier a sera konosí ku mi i pa bisa mi ku pa di promé biaha for di dia ku e a retirá for di polítika e lo bai vota i lo vota pa mi. Di e promé enkuentro ei, mi amistat ku Shon Lou a krese i nos a gana otro su konfiansa.

Komo Presidente Honorario di Fundashon mr. dr. Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez, Shon Lou a pidi mi bira Presidente di e Fundashon. Lokual e a pidi mi despues komo Presidente ta pa e papia personalmente ku kada posibel miembro nobo pa e direktiva di e Fundashon. I ta esaki mi a siña i apresiá di e persona Shon Lou: e importansia ku semper e a duna na kontakto personal. Ora e no por a haña mi na telefòn mi tabata risibí su notanan skibí na man. Ta p’esei no por ta un sorpresa ku su úniko remetido ku e a yega di skibi manera e a bisa mi, ta ora dos korant na Papiamentu di atardi a akus’é di ta menospresiá e pueblo dor di eksihí ku hende mester a traha un sita via di telefòn i no por kana drenta asina asina den su ofisina eksihiendo un kòmbersashon. Aparentemente e korantnan tabata haña ku ta un eskándalo ku pueblo mester traha un sita promé. Den su remitido den e korant Amigoe di Curaçao di 29 novèmber 1974 titulá Miho Rabia ku Duele e a pone bon kla ku: “Lucina no ta tende hende, hari cu nan, haci bunita, sin haci nada pa nan.” Den e remetido aki e a dal Partido Demokrat duru akusando nan di a bai skondi den eksterior i no dediká atenshon at all na pueblo.

Un di e historianan ku mas mi a gosa sinembargo ta tokante di dos hende ku durante kampaña a drenta su ofisina ku awa na wowo pa papia di un problema personal. Un miembro di famia lo a muri i no tabatin sufisiente plaka pa der’é. Despues di a skucha nan pèrtá, Shon Lou a duna nan un kantidat di plaka. Su siguiente dia Shon Lou a pidi dos hende di konfiansa pa kumpra un krans i hiba esaki pa e famia en kuestion. Shon Lou ta konta ku su hendenan di konfiansa a pasa hopi trabou pa haña e kas unda tabatin un …fiesta bailabel. Disgustá e dos hendenan a bai bèk ku e krans e siguiente dia serka Shon Lou i a konta kiko a pasa. Nan a konseh’é pa desenmaskará e gañadónan i pone nan paga e plaka bèk. Shon Lou, ku un enorme sonrisa riba su kara a sigi kontami ku e a bisa nan ku un trankilidat ku solamente bo por tin basá riba eksperensia di bida i polítika: “Sea ku nan a usa e plaka pa entiero òf pa fiesta, nan lo vota pa nos partido. Si nos bai konfrontá nan, nos lo pèrdè plaka i pèrdè e voto. Pues laga nos hasi manera nos no sa kiko a pasa”.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

This is how China does it

Local politicians were mesmerized by Guangdong Zhenrong Energy (GZE), which was here to build a refinery without ever having built one. The Whiteman, Koeiman, Pisas 1, and Rhuggenaath administrations were impressed by the GZE’s charm offensive to help our most important companies, including Curaçao Ports Authority (CPA) and, the Curaçao Water and Power Company (Aqualectra). Why wouldn’t they be elated? Additionally, GZE would create an entertainment strip à la Las Vegas, help out a local bank in trouble, and build many sports facilities, all while constructing a refinery, which, like I said, they have never done and had failed miserably trying to do in Myanmar. GZE soon disappeared from the scene since it couldn’t produce the resources to back up its talk.

Yet some people here, including an ex-Minister President, still worship the ground GZE walks on. In one of his veneration rants about the GZE, the politician said that Curaçao is missing out on getting Chines expertise, money, and investment China is graciously giving the world in the frame of the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road Infrastructure (BRI) projects.

The results of BRI have so far been less than gracious. In Angola, a vast social housing project by the Chinese is cracking, and there are complaints about moldy ceilings. In Pakistan, a Chinese-built hydroelectric plant had to be shut down last year after detecting cracks in a tunnel. Uganda’s power generation company said it has identified over 500 construction defects in a Chinese-built hydropower plant causing frequent breakdowns since its operation in 2019. And most recently, Ecuador -a small country, yet at the forefront of the communists’ push in the region, accessing more loans than any country except Venezuela and Brazil-, has seen many big Chinese projects in the mining and energy sectors plagued with construction flaws. Besides the mediocre quality of these Chinese constructions, many communities have been forced off their land in addition to huge environmental costs resulting in death and impoverishment. I have personally visited some of the affected areas left behind by the Chinese in Myanmar, Kazakhstan, and Laos.

China has become known for targetting poor countries with its debt traps. It lends money to other countries, which must cede control of key assets if they can’t repay their debt. Sri Lanka had to give up 7o% of control of one of its ports to China which it now uses to, among others, dock spy ships, much to the chagrin of nearby India. It is unknown how widespread these practices are because China, unlike other major donors, does not publish records of its foreign loans, and most of its contracts contain non-disclosure clauses that prevent borrowers from revealing their contents.

Communist China, once a staunch believer in advancing the interests of developing countries in the Non-Alligned Movement, is now the new imperialism. In the past, China preached to the developing world to avoid subordination to Washington or Moscow. Now China is the one subjugating others.  All around the world, and unfortunately, in Curaçao, these communists are finding people willing to sell out their own countries to benefit the mother country, China. 

Willemstad, Curaçao

Politieke manipulatie door de media: Een persoonlijk verhaal

Op 23 juni 2011 publiceerde het Antilliaans Dagblad een opiniestuk over corruptie waarin het logo van de politieke partij PAIS werd afgebeeld. Het valt op dat PAIS op dat moment geen zetel had in de Staten of vertegenwoordigd was in de Regering en ook nooit eerder in deze organen zat. Het is mogelijk dat de krant, deze partij die minder dan één jaar bestond, heeft gekozen vanwege haar populariteit in de peilingen die zich later vertaalde naar goede resultaten bij de Statenverkiezingen van 2012. Lijkt het echter toeval dat de krant het logo van PAIS heeft gebruikt, gezien ons land meer dan 75 politieke partijen heeft gekend waarvan een aantal wel met corruptie in aanraking is gekomen?

De foto die de krant gebruikte, werd genomen door een redactielid en toonde een 7-jarige jongen met een boodschappentas met daarop het logo van PAIS. Deze jongen is de zoon van mijn zus en dus mijn neefje. Ik was destijds politieke leider van PAIS. Ik geloof dat de krant deze foto bewust heeft gekozen als politieke actie en niet als toeval. De krant heeft niet stilgestaan bij de schade dat het heeft aangericht door gebruik te maken van beeldmateriaal waarop één specifieke partij staat afgebeeld en deze te associeren met een voor de maatschappij gevoelig en polariserend onderwerp als corruptie. Ik heb geprobeerd de redactie te benaderen, maar kreeg geen gehoor. Dit roept vragen op over de politieke onpartijdigheid van de krant. Ik vind deze actie verwerpelijk en beneden alle peil. Het is van belang dat de media zorgvuldig omgaan met beeldmateriaal en zich bewust zijn van de mogelijke impact ervan, met name wanneer het gaat om politieke kwesties.

Willemstad, Curaçao

The normalcy of corruption and mediocracy in Curaçao

A few weeks ago, I read: Trouble in paradise: corruption in the Caribbean has become normalized (The Guardian, 4 March 2023). This article was based on Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI) published at the end of January this year. This article states, “Corruption in the Caribbean has shown no improvement over the last decade.” Our region seems to be just content at the bottom of the CPI.

Just how ‘normal’ is corruption in Curaçao? Let me illustrate.

During a discussion of Parliament last week on the Coast Guard, Juniël Carolina, Member of Parliament representing the largest Curaçaoan governing party MFK (Movement for the Future of Curaçao), said that the 29,000 kilos of drugs that were intercepted in 2022 by the Coast Guard should be sold to The Netherlands. According to the calculations he made on a piece of paper he read from, this would fetch Curaçao ‘almost a trillion USD,’ which, by the way, is more than a million times larger than the GDP of Curaçao and even larger than that of Turkey (all World Bank figures).

Ok, Mr. Carolina cannot count and does not understand economic figures, but that’s not the point. How can a Member of Parliament, who was once a policeman, say something like this? Did he suggest we become a narco-state, get shunned by the world, and ruin our financial markets? Did he foresee Curaçao being able to legally export these drugs, get clearance by customs, have them sold, and put the money in a bank, either locally or internationally?

Mr. Carolina’s political party, MFK, is no stranger to corruption, crime, and mediocracy. The former political leader of MFK and former Prime Minister of Curaçao was found guilty of, among others, corruption, money laundering, and forgery and sentenced to three years in prison. The former MFK Minister of Finance is serving a prison sentence of 28 years for his role in the assassination in 2013 of the then-most popular politician on the island. The ex-MFK Minister of Health will soon go to jail due to fraud committed last decade. Another of Mr. Carolina’s party colleagues was convicted for leaking confidential information from a secret Parliament Committee meeting. Two coalition politicians, one from MFK and the other from the junior coalition partner, the People’s National Party (PNP), were deemed not ministerial (for Economic Affairs and Justice, respectively) two years ago, due to their criminal past. Yet one of them is still a Member of Parliament for MFK. This month the Court of Appeal in Willemstad, Curaçao, disapproved of how the MFK Minister of Health tried to interfere and stop an ongoing investigation of mega fraud that rocked the healthcare system. Earlier, this Minister denied wrongdoing by declaring not to be aware of trias politica (democratic separation of powers).

What is happening here? Why have watchdogs, social activists, and integrity commissions not been able to create change? Why are these corrupt and criminally inept politicians not outvoted? A common popular sentiment here is: “everyone has stolen in the past, so give these (newbies) a chance to also steal.” And people mean it because they keep voting for these types of politicians. Obviously, without the votes, they can not become Members of Parliament. Corruption has become so embedded that it demands greater attention. It’s time to ask ourselves why we tolerate corrupt and mediocre politicians and keep voting for them, knowing that no society has made progress with corrupt and mediocre decision-makers.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Alex Rosaria, born and raised in Curaçao, is a member of Global Americans and a fellow of the Caribbean Policy Consortium. He’s a freelancer in Asia & Pacific. He worked as UNDP Officer in Chad and Nicaragua and was Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance, and Member of Parliament.

De Centrale Bank kan niet stil blijven

Onverwacht zijn de globale financiële markten geschokt door een reeks gebeurtenissen die werden veroorzaakt door het instorten van de Amerikaanse Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) ongeveer twee weken geleden. Bezorgd dat de SVB de eerste dominosteen zou kunnen zijn die omvalt, heb ik op 13 maart jl. via mijn sociale media account onder de aandacht gebracht dat de Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) naar buiten moet treden om op deze kwestie in te gaan. Opmerkelijk genoeg heeft de CBCS er tot nu toe de voorkeur aangegeven om zich in haar cocon terug te trekken. Slechts enkele dagen geleden stuurde de minister van Financiën een brief naar de CBCS voor meer informatie. Het gaat mijn begrip te boven waarom er een brief is gestuurd en waarom dit werd gepubliceerd in plaats van een persoonlijke ontmoeting met de CBCS te beleggen. Als de CBCS snel had gereageerd, had het de regie kunnen houden in plaats van deze uit handen te geven aan een politicus.

Maar ik dwaal af. Mijn bezorgdheid werd werkelijkheid. SVB was de eerste dominosteen die omviel, gevolgd door Signature Bank en de First Republic Bank. Crédit Suisse (CS) werd gedwongen om miljarden dollars te accepteren om te kunnen overleven. Sommigen, waaronder ik, vrezen dat dit een herhaling kan zijn van de ineenstorting van Lehman Brothers in 2008, wat leidde tot een scherpe terugval van de wereldeconomie in 2009.

Een duidelijk teken van onrust van de markten is een scherpe daling van de olieprijzen, ondanks de sterke inspanningen van de Amerikaanse Fed en de Zwitserse Nationale Bank om de situatie te kalmeren. Slechts twee dagen voor de val van SVB was de prijs van West Texas Intermediate (WTI), éen van de belangrijkste wereldwijde olie benchmarks, meer dan 80 dollar per vat. Na de schokken veroorzaakt door SVB en CS werd de WTI-prijs met bijna 15 dollar gedaald per vat.

De cruciale vraag is of de situatie nu beter of slechter is dan in 2008, wat leidde tot een scherpe terugval van de wereldeconomie in 2009. Dit keer vinden bankfaillissementen plaats aan beide zijden van de Atlantische Oceaan. Bovendien is de gecombineerde omvang van SVB en CS 750 miljard dollar, groter dan de 620 miljard dollar van Lehman Brothers. Zal de Federal Reserve deze mogelijke ineenstorting kunnen beheersen met een verandering in haar monetair beleid? In dat geval, wat zijn de gevolgen voor ons land?

Om eerlijk te zijn, waren er al specifieke problemen bij SVB en CS al vóór de ineenstorting eerder deze maand. Bij de SVB lijkt de belangrijkste boosdoener onvoldoende liquiditeit én hebzucht te zijn die goede bancaire praktijken overtrof. Bij CS ging het meer om onvoldoende kapitaal. Volgens het Social Science Research Network zijn 186 Amerikaanse banken kwetsbaar voor een snelle liquiditeitsafname, zoals de SVB. Hoe kwetsbaar zijn we? Waarom staat de CBCS toe dat door haar stilte dit onderwerp mogelijk kan uitmonden in een politieke side-show? Ik hoop dat de CBCS zich realiseert dat de geest uit de fles is en dat ze snel iets moeten zeggen.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Alex D. Rosaria is voormalige minister van Economie, staatssecretaris Financiën en Lid der Staten. Thans lid van twee Amerikaanse denktanken t.w. Global Americans en Caribbean Policy Consortium alsmede freelancer in Azië.

Central Bank, come out of your cocoon and say something

Unexpectedly, the global financial markets are reeling from a series of shocks prompted by the US Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) collapse about two weeks ago. Worried that the SVB could be the first domino to fall, I urged the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS), on 13 March 2023, on my social media account to say something. Inconceivably, CBCS has so far preferred to stay in its cocoon. A few days ago, the Minister of Finance sent a letter to the CBCS for more information. It’s beyond me why a letter was sent, and why this was published instead of a face-to-face meeting with the CBCS. If the CBCS had reacted quickly, it could have controlled the narrative instead of a political actor.

I digress. My fear became a reality. SVB was the first domino to fall, followed by Signature Bank, and the First Republic Bank. Crédit Suisse (CS) was forced to accept US$ billions to stay afloat in Europe. Some, including me, fear it could be a repeat of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, which led to a sharp contraction of the world economy in 2009.

The clear indicator of unrest is a sharp decline in oil prices despite strong efforts from US Fed and the Swiss National Bank to calm the situation. Just two days before the fall of SVB, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price, one of the leading global oil benchmarks, was over US$80 per barrel. After the shocks caused by SVB and CS, the WTI price which fell by nearly US$15 per barrel.

The critical question is whether the situation was now better or worse than in 2008, which led to a sharp contraction of the world economy in 2009. This time bank failures are happening on both sides of the Atlantic. Also, the combined size of SVB and CS is US$750 billion, more significant than Lehman Brothers’ US$620 billion. Will the Federal Reserve contain this possible meltdown with a change in its monetary policies? In that case, what are the consequences for our country?

There are two causes of bank failure – inadequate capital and inadequate liquidity. Inadequate capital arises from bad loans or bad investments as was the case with CS and Lehman Brothers (2008). Inadequate liquidity is caused by rapid withdrawals of deposits. SVB belongs to the inadequate liquidity category. SVB had approximately $200 billion in deposits and was overexposed to interest rate risks. This bank was not cautious, but greedy, and the greed overruled sound banking practice. To be fair, there were specific problems at SVB and Credit Suisse before the meltdown, as banks tried to balance inflation with financial stability. According to the Social Science Research Network, 186 US banks are vulnerable to a rapid liquidity drain like the SVB. How vulnerable is our financial network? Why is the CBCS allowing its silence on this critical issue to potentially become a political sideshow? I hope the people at the CBCS realize that the genie is out of the bottle and that they have to say something.

Willemstad Curaçao

Alex D. Rosaria was Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance, and Member of Parliament. He is currently a member of the US think tanks Global Americans and Caribbean Policy Concern, as well as a freelancer in Asia and the Pacific.