WILLEMSTAD/ORANJESTAD–Many people in Curaçao and Aruba on Monday were discussing the Venezuelan decision to close the border with the islands for 72 hours ending Tuesday morning. Both respective Eugene Rhuggenaath and Evelyn Wever-Croes expressed concern.
The unilateral measure by President Nicolas Maduro for the islands meant that the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables was interrupted. These are normally delivered by small boats from the Venezuelan coast. Maduro wants this to stop because there is hardly enough food available in the neighbouring South American country itself.
Wever-Croes of Aruba said, when asked that she was worried: “There are close economic, cultural and family ties between the Dutch Caribbean and Venezuela. The one-sided closing of the border has a very negative impact.”
As an additional reason for his remarkable move, Maduro stated that Venezuelan gold, silver and copper are being channelled out of the country through the islands.
Rhuggenaat called the latter incomprehensible. “Maduro in effect accuses the islands of facilitating the smuggling of Venezuelan mineral resources. This while our Coast Guard 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 neighbouring country.”
Maduro once before temporarily closed all borders with the islands. That was in July 2014, after the high-ranking former Venezuelan military officer Hugo Carvajal was arrested at the airport of Aruba for suspicion of drug trafficking.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72555-venezuela-border-closure-ends-today