The Netherlands will not take Venezuelan refugees

THE HAGUE–There can be no question of refugees from Venezuela continuing to the Netherlands. Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok says the Dutch government has offered technical support to Aruba and Curaçao to help them deal with the flow of migrants from the crisis-hit neighbouring South American nation.

At the same time, he emphasised that it concerns two autonomous countries within the kingdom and that these areas have their own responsibility to solve their problems.

Blok was reacting to the re-election of Venezuela’s 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 emphasised that a distinction must be made between economic migrants who do not need to flee and political refugees. “Genuine political refugees must be admitted.”

There are only a few dozen kilometres of sea between Venezuela and the so-called ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao).

The socialist dictatorship had destroyed the economy and many opponents of the president are imprisoned or have left. The indigenous population of Warao Indians are also migrating in masses across the border.

Aruba’s Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes recently denounced the Dutch attitude towards the refugee flow (see related story). 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 have travelled to the nearby ABC islands.

Member of Dutch Parliament Ten Broeke fears that Venezuela will fall into a deep abyss resulting in a large refugee flow to 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 Blok, he thinks that the Netherlands does not have to grant asylum to the refugees from Venezuela.

CDA MP Van Helvert called 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 MP 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 Parliament in The Hague will debate with Blok about these latest developments.

Source: The Daily Herald