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.
Aruba is struggling to shelter thousands of asylum seekers from Venezuela, fleeing their country to escape poverty and political chaos. The island, which forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, already received more asylum applications than it can handle, ANP reports.
The Dutch government plans to make Curacao the "logistic hub" for humanitarian aid to neighbor Venezuela, Ministers Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs and Sigrid Kaag of Foreign Aid said in a letter to parliament. Representatives of the Dutch government, in consultation with the government of Curacao, will agree with the request from interim Venezuelan president Juan Guaidó and the United States to do so, the Ministers wrote, NOS reports.
A large number of EU countries, including the Netherlands, officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venzuela on Monday. In a letter to parliament, Dutch Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said that the government decided to recognize Guaidó, because Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro failed to meet an ultimatum set by the European Union, NU.nl reports.
The population of Curaçao was forced to begin stockpiling food since neighboring country Venezuela announced a trade boycott with the Dutch Caribbean island on Friday. The trade ban also covered Aruba and Bonaire, all three of which rely heavily on the South American country's fruits and vegetables.
The Dutch government is preparing a possible evacuation for the few hundred Dutch in Venezuela. The South-American country is in the midst of a massive crisis and there is hardly any food or medicine available. Angry Venezuelans have been demonstrating against the government for weeks, during which 42 people have been killed and hundreds others injured, RTL Nieuws reports.
After alarms were signaled in Aruba about four Venezuelan warships close to the Aruba coast, Minister Frans Timmermans of Foreign Affairs made the decision to release Hugo Carvajal, a repository of Venezuelan then-president Hugo Chávez, and a suspect of drug crimes.