Aruba Faces Many Challenges Simultaneously

An email this morning from: Evelyn Wever-Croes, Prime Minister of Aruba, Minister of General Affairs, Energy, Innovation, Government Organization

Aruba is facing big challenges. Below you will find a link in which these challenges are explained in more detail. I cannot and will no longer spend any energy on this discussion. Aruba will tackle the challenges itself and with decisiveness and does not wish to be involved in internal Dutch politics.

Here is what she said in a media interview in Curacao, thank you Google translate

The Aruban Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes reacted amazed to an article in the NRC “Premier Aruba denounces lack of support for the reception of refugees from Venezuela”. This article was then taken over by other media without prior consultation with the Prime Minister.

Aruba confronts many challenges at the same time. Financial challenges, social challenges and perhaps the biggest challenge: the situation with Venezuela. The Cabinet Wever-Croes is barely 6 months old and has to cope with a rather heavy legacy, as left behind by the previous cabinet under the leadership of Mike Eman.

“We are concerned about the situation in Venezuela. We already have thousands of people without legal status in Aruba, and this, on a population of just 110,000 people, is a big problem. Aruban society has apparently been able to absorb this number so far, but we can no longer handle this. That is why we also make all preparations to prevent a mass influx of people from Venezuela, Aruba with even greater impact, with all the consequences.

We have an asylum procedure that we follow and we will comply with the international agreements in those cases where people fear for their lives. We cannot do more because we ourselves have our challenges and limitations.

Part of the preparations is of course the price card. Aruba has, thanks to the financial mismanagement of the former government, a national debt against the 90% of the Aruban GDP. In that case, Aruba itself does not have sufficient resources to bear the costs that an asylum policy implies.

The Netherlands has indicated that this is an internal matter and that Aruba itself has to see how it is doing this.

“I can also imagine this attitude of the Dutch government quite well. In The Hague, thanks to the financial mismanagement of my predecessor, there is no trust in Aruba. And now the Aruban population has to pay for this. Incidentally, I do not think that the Netherlands will be able to continue this attitude for a long time.

I believe that this will affect the entire Kingdom. Aruba will do everything it can to tackle the refugee situation as well as possible so that this will not have a negative impact on the Kingdom, but it does need help. Contrary to what has been published in the NRC, I am not irritated by this attitude. I do not, however, irritate me quickly. I even find it somewhat understandable, given the experience that has been gained in The Hague with my predecessor. We are working hard to improve this relationship and to restore (mutual) trust. It will undoubtedly take the necessary time before we reach that point. “

We have not been idle and we are now in consultation with the EU, with ECLAC, with the US, for this help. In addition, I have also made agreements with the Prime Minister of Curaçao, and recently with the President of Panama and the Vice President of Colombia, to step up together. We can also count on support from that side. But each of these agencies and countries want to see first how the Netherlands will help itself with this crisis. I am sure that if people in The Hague see that we are seriously concerned with tackling our own problems, we must also be able to count on support there. Meanwhile, the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs have pledged support in terms of assistance, expertise and logistics. We appreciate that.
Visit of Minister Stef Blok to Venezuela

Minister of Foreign Affairs Blok visited Aruba and Curaçao in April for a Kingdom Consultation on Foreign Relations with the Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. During his trip, he managed to break the deadlock with Venezuela, after President Maduro unilaterally closed the borders between the countries on 6 January 2018.

The position of Aruba was always to come to reopening the borders as soon as possible, but under very stringent conditions. Minister Blok finally succeeded in signing a covenant. Now we are working together with Curaçao to make arrangements with Venezuela about the implementation of the covenant. Contrary to what was published in the Dutch media, I was not invited to be present on that occasion and I did not say that there would have been a show.

“We already have enough to protect our small island from the many external factors that we cannot influence. We therefore do not appreciate the use of the Dutch media for domestic politics (consumption). In these difficult times we expect support from everyone; especially from the Netherlands.

Source: Press release Dutch Prime Minister Wever-Croes

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May 23, 2018
Rona Coster