One of the topics discussed was the Aruba-Venezuela border, which is still closed. It was concluded that there is a mutual interest in a possible reopening of this border, but the challenges and concerns were also expressed. According to Ambassador Schuddeboom, there is an improvement in Venezuela, including economic growth. There is more employment, more income, more products and groceries for more and more people. According to the Prime Minister, this gives a sense of relief. “We have always said that the situation in Venezuela can only be solved in Venezuela. We can't solve the problems for them, but we do want to lend a hand. Aruba has been helping for many years, but now, with the situation in Aruba due to the pandemic, we have to take care of ourselves first before we can help others,” said the Prime Minister.
The border is still closed. The Aruban government is in negotiations with Venezuelan authorities to reopen the border "step by step", starting with the sea border when the time comes. This can provide cheaper construction materials and products from Venezuela. While this may lower the cost of living in Aruba, the border needs to be reopened cautiously to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Subsequently, the direct air border between Aruba and Venezuela will be reopened. At the moment the air border is limited open, one cannot go directly from Aruba to Venezuela and vice versa, but first have to go to another country such as Panama, Colombia or the Dominican Republic. "We're working on that too."
Work is also underway on the visa applicable to travelers from Venezuela. Venezuelan travelers must apply for this at the Dutch Embassy in Caracas.
“We want to start with the Maritime border first and once it's done right, we'll think about the next step. To go that far it is important that our economy grows first and that there is enough employment for everyone in Aruba, because that is the biggest concern, that people here get a job first. Once we are back on our feet, we can consider helping other countries," the prime minister emphasized.
Finally, the Prime Minister said: "If the situation in Venezuela has actually improved, we can restore long-term relations between the two countries which is beneficial for Aruba. At the moment, this needs to be done step by step before we reopen the maritime border and then see how we will proceed. It was a good meeting and Ambassador Schudeboom who is responsible for the progress in Caracas and who will keep us informed”.