|Betico Croes at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol|
|Gilberto François Croes|
25 January 1938|
|Died||November 26, 1986
Gilberto François "Betico" Croes (January 25, 1938 - November 26, 1986) was an Aruban political activist who was a proponent of Aruba's separation from the rest of the Netherlands Antilles. This eventually occurred, but Croes lapsed into a coma after an accident on 31 December 1985 (the night of status aparte) and was never conscious to see his accomplishment. He is called the father of the Aruban nation.
The accident he suffered was questioned by many, because a car was seen leaving the area after the accident. This conspiracy theory was never proven.
He was the leader of the political party People's Electoral Movement (Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo) and in 1976 was the person responsible for the Seal, Flag and Hymn of the island of Aruba. The hymn was co-written by renowned Padu Del Caribe (Padu Lampe), and Rufo Wever, who also composed the anthem.
He was also responsible for the referendum held in March 1977, regarding Aruba's independence, in which 83% of the votes were in favor of independence.
Betico Croes also was responsible for formally setting Aruba’s Independence Date for 1991, at the Round Table Conference in February 1981, But at the Round Table Conference in March 1983 the date for Aruba’s Independence was changed from 1991, and set in two stages/steps: the first stage/step: Aruba’s Independence from the Netherlands Antilles was set for 1986, and for ten years later, the second stage/step: Aruba’s Independence from the Netherlands, for 1996. At Betico’s arrival in Aruba, after the RTC, he was received with total approval and joy by the people.
He is also responsible for the fact that in August 1985: Aruba’s Constitution and its Independence first from the Netherlands Antilles, and then from the Netherlands, as agreed in March 1983, in Aruba’s Decolonization and Independence Agreement, is unanimously approved by all political parties in Aruba.
In the 1980s he recommended that Aruba should target tourism in order to diversify the economy since it depended mainly on the refinery.
Croes was also responsible for major projects for the people of Aruba, like F.C.C.A., the transportation company Arubus, the Sasaki Plan (he envisioned the area destined for hotels) and many more.
Aruba's official Holiday to remember him has been marked on January 25, his birth date.
Caya G. F. Betico Croes is named after him and is the main shopping street of Oranjestad, Aruba.
Has 2 sons, Glenbert and Junior Croes and 2 daughters Lalo Saladin-Croes and Guisette Croes.