Published On: Wed, May 23rd, 2018

Blok: The Netherlands will not accept refugees from Venezuela

Stef-BlokTHE HAGUE - There can be no question of refugees from Venezuela continuing to the Netherlands. Minister of Foreign Affairs says that the Netherlands has offered technical support to Aruba and Curaçao, to help with dealing with refugees. At the same time, he emphasizes that it concerns two independent countries within the kingdom and that therefore these areas have their own responsibility to solve their problems.

Blok comes with the reaction after the re-election of Venezuelan President Maduro. He calls these elections a mockery. “They were not free and independent elections. I look at it with great concern, there is a pressure on people to leave.”

He emphasizes that a distinction must be made between economic refugees, who do not need to include a country and political refugees. “Genuine political refugees must be included on the basis of the refugee agreement.”

There are only a few dozen kilometers of sea between Venezuela and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Venezuela, once the cradle of the left in Latin America, is now a socialist dictatorship in crisis. The economy of Venezuela is very bad. Many opponents of the president are imprisoned or have fled. The indigenous population, the Warao Indians, also migrates en masse across the border, away from Venezuela.

The prime minister of Aruba, Evelyn Wever-Croes, denounced last week the Dutch attitude towards the refugee flow from Venezuela towards the ABC islands. According to her, the Netherlands does not do enough to help with the relief. Since the outbreak of the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela in 2015, thousands of refugees traveled to the nearby islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Together hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fled.

Member of the Dutch Parliament Ten Broeke fears that Venezuela will fall into a deep abyss by Maduro, resulting in a large refugee flow for the islands. “They are not at all ready to handle these numbers.” The MP warned years ago that the Netherlands and the islands had to take measures. “This is an accident that has announced itself.” Nevertheless, like Minister Blok, he thinks that the Netherlands does not have to grant asylum to the refugees from Venezuela.

CDA Member of Parliament Van Helvert calls the situation in Venezuela terrible. “Refugees are already coming to the Netherlands now. The question is whether we can oversee the size, because the islands are very small.”

SP Member of Parliament Karabulut does not think that the problems of today are solved tomorrow. “We have to think about how the Venezuelans can be supported. You have to be prepared for the problems.”

Next week the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament will debate with Minister Blok about the developments.

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