Who cares about Betico Day?? The People of Aruba Do and You Should To

January 25th is a special day for the people of Aruba. Its known as Betico Day; the official holiday in memory of statement Gilberto Francois ‘Betico’ Croes (January 25th 1938 – November 25 1986). Betico was a political activist who helped the Caribbean island of Aruba obtain its ‘Status Aparte’ (separate status)  which made them an autonomous member of the Kingdom of Netherlands. This meant that it would function as a commonwealth.

About ‘Betico’:

Gilberto François “Betico” Croes was born in Santa Cruz on January 25, 1938. After his secondary education on Aruba, he went to Holland to study at the Pedagogical Academy in Hilversum. In 1959 he obtained his certificate as a school teacher. 2BKaribbean and Betico Croes Day

As a politician, Betico Croes devoted himself mainly to the self-determination of the Aruban people. In 1976, he took the initiative to adopt an Aruban flag and an Aruban anthem. Betico Croes and the MEP strived for a separate status for Aruba within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, independent of the Netherlands Antilles. On March 25, 1977, on his initiative, a referendum was held (turnout 82%), in which a majority of 57% of the Aruban people opted for independence. Later it became the Status Aparte.

On December 31, 1985, on the eve of Status Aparte, Betico Croes was involved in a traffic accident in which he got seriously wounded. He lapsed into a coma and would never regain consciousness. Almost eleven months later, on November 26, 1986, he passed away.

Betico Croes is considered as ‘Libertador di Aruba ‘(Liberator of Aruba).

Betico Croes was the advocate of the Aruban flag and the anthem “Aruba Dushi Tera”, which were both adopted in 1976. On March 18, the ‘Dia di Himno y Bandera’ (Day of Flag and Anthem) is being celebrated as an official holiday. The date of birth of Betico, January 25th, is an official holiday too, ‘Dia di Betico’ (Betico day). The Nassaustraat, the main street in downtown Oranjestad, has been renamed ‘Caya Gilberto François (Betico) Croes’, in short the Caya Betico Croes, after his death. The square behind the Cas di Cultura (Cultural Centre) on the Vondellaan, has been named after him: “Plasa Libertador Betico Croes”. There stands a statue if him, as well as the square dedicated to him next to his birthplace at the central intersection of Santa Cruz. This square is now called “Plasa Status Aparte Betico Croes.*

SOUND OFF:  Tell us about your experience if you have been to Betico Day

KEY TAKE-AWAYS:

  • Betico Day is the official holiday in memory of statement Gilberto Francois ‘Betico’ Croes
  • Betico was a political activist who helped the Caribbean island of Aruba obtain its ‘Status Aparte’
  • On December 31, 1985, on the eve of Status Aparte, Betico Croes was involved in a traffic accident in which he got seriously wounded.
  • Betico Croes is considered as ‘Libertador di Aruba ‘(Liberator of Aruba)

Sources:

 

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