Venezuela closes sea border with Dutch islands
Venezuela closed the sea border between the province of Falcon and the islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire, which form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This means that no shipping traffic is possible between Venezuela and the three islands. No reason was given for the closure, NOS reports.
The closure may have to do with the intention of the United States, Curacao and the Netherlands to send humanitarian aid to Venezuela from the island. The Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó asked for such an arrangement. But the Venezuelan government wants nothing to do with it. According to president Nicolas Maduro, no aid is needed and the U.S. and other countries are exaggerating the shortage of food and medicine in the country.
The measure did not come as a surprise. "We are aware that there may be consequences for Curacao", the island's Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath said last week, according to NOS. "For example, we're thinking of a border closure, which we have experienced before." Rhuggenaath said that he is counting on support from allies to limit the negative consequences of a border closure. The islands are completely dependent on Falcon for their fruit and vegetable supplies.
Last year Venezuela closed the border with Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire for three months. According to Maduro, the islands did not act against the smuggling of gold, copper and other raw materials from his country. The islands initially faced a shortage of fruit and vegetables, but these products were quickly supplied from elsewhere. The closure was lifted after Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs visited the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, according to the broadcaster.