|Suriname, located on the northeastern coast of South America, was settled by the Dutch and the British in the early 1600s. In 1667, the region became a Dutch colony. That status continued virtually unchanged (except for brief interludes of British control) until independence, which was achieved in 1975. In 1980, Suriname's became a military-controlled government, one which eliminated opposition parties. Eight years later, military rule was removed but the limitations placed on civil liberties remained in place. It was not until 1991 that civilian rule was reestablished (although there is evidence that the true ruler of the country remains the former military ruler, Col. Desi Bouterse).