The border with Venezuela is Opening May 1st, 2023

Back in 2018, President Maduro closed the border with Aruba, and aired a number of accusations. He claimed that Aruba was stealing Venezuelan copper, and other rare precious metals, and overnight cut off both air and maritime traffic.

We missed some produce during the first few days, and then forgot about it, as avocado came in from the Dominican Republic.

In May 2019, Aruba decided not to dance to the erratic song of Maduro, when he declared mid-month that the border between Venezuela and Aruba is open.

This has been going back and forth since then, with diplomats on both sides talking to the heads of state and to the Dutch kingdom.

Many of my friends agreed the border should remain closed. Less influx of people, and the threat of immigration. Less dependence on a capricious dictator’s whims.

Tourism from Venezuela? Those still coming here squirreled their money away in US banks, and travel via Columbia or Panama to come on vacation to their favorite island.

Produce? As I said, the Dominican Republic, Columbia and the US fulfil our produce needs, more expensively, but then what’s new, Aruba is an expensive island.

The core of the issue is immigration. As it stands right now, in accordance with international treaties, if a Venezuelan national lands on Aruba by plane or boat from that country it is within his rights to file a petition for asylum, at the airport or anywhere else, at any time.

We are a tiny speck of a county and we cannot be overrun by illegals, but there are things we can do, and the job-market could use an influx of qualified hands, so once they figure out how to integrate those already here and working, they will let us know.

Dutch envoys regularly report that things are looking up in Venezuela, what we called a failed-state, with the economy finally responding positively, more work available, more income, more products and more food to be found.

My friends who are pro opening the border report: “Venezuelan tourism could translate into more than $100 million extra yearly revenues and enough in taxes to cover some of our fiscal deficit. Given our current economic situation this additional revenue is welcome.”

With the slow disappearance of the pandemic, the decision was made: The border is opening May 1st, 2023.  And with the new visa requirement for Venezuelans, the risk of immigration coming by air is very small, if any.

Many people now agree: The benefits of opening the southern border clearly outweigh the risks. The Netherlands, and Curacao signaled wiliness for a while, now Aruba made the decision too.

And talking about the disappearing pandemic: We had 115 positive test results in January, no deaths, in December 226. Eleven hospitalized in January, twenty in December. In the last week of January just ten positive test results, of 100.000 residents. It’s probably safe to say, it’s behind us.

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February 16, 2023
Rona Coster