The island of Aruba has a special day coming up this Saturday, January 25th. The island will have lots of festivities that honor the late pro-autonomy political leader Gilberto Francois (Betico) Croes. He helped the island attain the Status Aparte. Aruba was allowed to function as a commonwealth within the Dutch Kingdom and Betico is honored for this outcome since 1989 by celebrating the Dia di Betico. The official holiday features performances, sporting events and games throughout the island.
Croes himself was not able to enjoy the results of his ongoing struggle; he was involved in an accident on December 31, 1985, and got into a coma. He passed away on November 26, 1986. For the Aruban people, his words will never be forgotten. He told his people: “Si mi cai na caminda, gara e bandera y sigue cu e lucha’ which means ‘If I fall along the way, grab the flag and continue the struggle’.
The father of the Aruban nation, as he is called often, was an active man in Caribbean organizations while he studied in the Netherlands. Betico was a social man, participated in sports and the social and cultural community. He worked as a teacher and instituted the official seal, flag and hymn for the island. During the Round table Conference of 1981, he was responsible for formally setting the date for Aruba’s independency. Betico also became leader of the political party Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo (MEP), now the main party that forms the current government that was elected in September 2017. There were two stages in which the Independence was formed: the first one was set for 1986, the second was set for ten years later and enhanced the independence from the Netherlands. However, it never came to a total independence of Aruba in 1996; it was dropped in 1990. The Status Aparte within the Kingdom of the Netherlands was to be a permanent one.
Friday January 24
Concert symphony orchestra & local artists
At Plaza di Betico you can enjoy a live concert of our symphony orchestra together with local artists to celebrate the day of our national hero. The concert will take place Friday night at 8pm and is free entrance.
Saturday January 25
Come and climb to the top of our national monument to be amazed with the fanastic panorama. The Lighthouse will be open from 9am to 7pm.
History Museum of Aruba
The History Museum of Aruba will open her gates on this special day between noon and 4pm. A guide is available to show you around and tell you everything about the building and history. There is a kids corner and the possibility to have some drinks and snacks.
Live band Rincon Boyz
Celebrate and commemorate Betico Croes with a special performance by Rincon Boyz.
‘Betico Day’ is a national holiday to be spend with family and friends. Great way to learn and discover the rich culture and history of Aruba. Renaissance Marketplace will celebrate this day with a live performance by Rincon Boyz. Perfect family night out for dinner and entertainment. Between 8 and 10pm.
Miniature boat races
Watch the handmade miniature boats go to water at Governor’s Bay in Oranjestad. One of Aruba’s oldest cultural traditions are still alive. Take the chance to talk to one of the boat builders and hear them out about this tradition. From 9.30am.
There are much more things to do this weekend to celebrate Betico Croes. Have a look at the specials of restaurants and casino’s in the Aruba Today newspaper and plan your day. This weekend you are welcome to mingle with the locals and learn the culture of the people.