Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2018

Curaçao and Aruba: “No way to treat a neighboring country”

Premiers-Rhuggenaath-and-Wever-CroesWILLEMSTAD, ORANJESTAD - Curaçao and Aruba are reacting to the Venezuelan decision to close the border with the ABC islands for three days. Anger and concern compete for priority with the Prime Ministers of both islands Rhuggenaath and Wever-Croes.

The unilateral decision of President Nicolas Maduro for the islands means that the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables is in danger. These are normally delivered with small boats from the Venezuelan coast. Maduro wants this to stop because there is hardly enough food available in the country itself.

Premier Evelyn Wever-Croes of Aruba says when asked that she is "worried". “There are close economic, cultural and family ties between the Caribbean islands and Venezuela. The one-sided closing of the border has a very negative impact.”

As an additional reason for his remarkable step, Maduro states that Venezuelan gold, silver and copper are being channeled out of the country through the ABC islands. The Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaat calls these statements incomprehensible.

Rhuggenaath: “In fact, Maduro accuses the islands of facilitating the smuggling of Venezuelan mineral resources. This while the Coast Guard of Curaçao cooperates with the Venezuelan Coast Guard and holds joint exercises to combat cross-border crime.”

He finds the border closure unacceptable: “This is not a way to treat a neighboring country.” President Maduro once closed all borders with the ABC Islands. That was in July 2014 after the high Venezuelan soldier Hugo Carvajal was arrested at the airport of Aruba for suspicion of drug trafficking.

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