Published On: Tue, Jan 23rd, 2018

EU sanctions against Venezuela bad for ABC Islands

European CommissionBRUSSELS - Restricted sanctions which were unanimously proclaimed by the European Union against Venezuela threaten to reinforce the blockade of the Latin American country against Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Venezuela is, according to foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra completely wrong in doing so, to link this measure with previously reported smuggling practices.

The EU sanctions have nothing to do with that. They are directed against seven high-ranking Venezuelans, including the Minister of the Interior, who have committed violations of human rights and undermining the rule of law. They are not allowed to enter Europe for the time being, while their possessions in Europe have been confiscated. Earlier, Europe also announced an arms embargo.

According to the EU, the measures can be reversed if Venezuela releases its political prisoners, respects its democratic institutions and establishes a decent dialogue between government and opposition. “These are personal sanctions that do not affect the population,” says Zijlstra. He 'regrets' that his Venezuelan colleague makes a link between the smuggling and blockade and the EU-sanctions, but fails to change his mind.

According to Venezuela, the islands do not sufficiently check their borders and large-scale smuggling of gold, petrol and food was able to take place. According to Zijlstra, the Netherlands is now looking at other supply lines, for example via Colombia or the Dominican Republic.

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