| With the news that
Dutch reporter Peter R. de Vries may
have solved the case of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the underlying
reasons for the boycott of Aruba may soon be waning, but in the mean time the
boycott calls are strong.
In December, Boycott Watch
made an informal survey of Aruba and found that there were lots of airline
seats and hotel rooms available for the remainder of the winter tourism season.
At the current moment, however, Aruba is packed with Spring Break tourists,
college students who have flocked to Aruba where the legal drinking age of 18
is seldom enforced for one main reason - Aruba just wants the US tourism
dollars. Boycott Watch believes many of these spring break packages were sold
in late December and January. US students are attracted to Aruba not only
because of the low drinking age, but also because heavy drugs are easy to
obtain there without fear of arrest - Aruba virtually allows all tourists to
experiment with drugs without worry of the consequences they would face in the
US, especially when the parents the spring break college students are more than
1000 miles away.
Underage drinking and drugs plus
Aruba's unofficial "look the other way as long as US dollars are being spent"
policy is something that many parents are not aware of, but it is common
knowledge among college students. It is doubtful that Natalee Holloway's high
school administrators or classmate's parents were aware of the Aruba's
reputation or they would not have allowed a class trip to Aruba in the first
place. This is because Aruba advertises itself as "One Happy Island" but
perhaps a more realistic name would be "One Intoxicated Island."
In our December 20, 2007,
report, Boycott Watch
mentioned the drug issues in Aruba and asked "if any of the Aruba Three were
tested for drugs after Natalee's disappearance."
Fox News reported that the Peter R. de
Vries report contains allegations that Natalee Holloway may have died after a
drug overdose. This opens questions about who Natalee may have obtained the
drugs from and if any of her companions that night may have also been using
drugs at the time, or did one of the Aruba locals perhaps just got Natalee
drugged-up so they could take advantage of her. If either is the case, the
boycott against Aruba could go on indefinitely.
Additionally, the soon to be released Peter R. de Vries report will likely
confirm that Boycott Watch was right with our drug concerns. In our same
report, Boycott Watch mention an activity in Aruba reported to us called
"pimping," where local Aruban men pick up foreign tourist women, including
openly in hotel lobbies, with the idea of getting them drunk in order to take
advantage of them. The "pimping" activity is reported to be so common that it
is not even noticed and Boycott Watch has received a report of the "primping"
targeted to a 14 year old girl.
In the meantime,
family vacationers still appear to be avoiding Aruba, yet college students go
to Aruba specifically because of the lax laws and enforcement. Perhaps this
lackluster attention to personal safety and the commonality of the "pimping" is
the reason Natalee Holloway was not noticed by the locals shortly before she
disappeared - the "pimping" activity is so rampant it is just not noticed, and
Aruban police therefore did not take the case seriously when they should have.
The de Vries report may empower the Aruba
boycotters, and Boycott Watch will update this report after the de Vries report