It could not have been clearer this week that Nicolas Maduro -once a well-mannered Caracas bus driver- doesn’t have control of his country as he steers this formerly rich democratic country straight off a cliff. Mr. Maduro’s claim that the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao (ABC) which have a combined population of 300,000 (Venezuela has 32 million) are “ruining his country by illegally taking Venezuelan oils, rubber, food, everything and creating a human crisis”, is laughable. This is the same Maduro who claims that the deceased Hugo Chavez frequently appears to him in the form of a little bird that talks. Meanwhile Mr. Maduro is behaving like the proverbial drowning man who clutches at a straw.
The Venezuelan situation cries out for a solution by Venezuelans, especially the Government of Venezuela. This country has the highest hyperinflation in the world (2,300% by next year), food shortages because of failed government price control, failing oil output, ravaging crime, a humongous debt and a sitting government that stifles opposition. Venezuela needs people that assume their responsibility. The Goverment of Venezuela needs to man up and resolve this crisis which has taken a severe human toll on our Southern neighbors. Abilities to communicate with dead people via the animal kingdom may not be enough.
It is simply preposterous that the ABC islands can in any way have a significant impact on the situation in Venezuela. However, I agree that any contraband that may exist between the ABC and Venezuela should be stopped. Contraband however should be attacked at both sides of the Caribbean sea, not only on the ABC. Venezuela has also promised some ‘little surprises’ that may include a commercial boycott. It will serve the Venezuelans well to go back in time and read about the boycott they imposed on Curaçao in 1909 (Decreto 14 de Mayo de 1909). It did not end well.
The ABC should take this matter with the necessary seriousness. Hopefully the Venezuelan Ambassador in The Hague has been summoned by the Kingdom Minister of Foreign Affairs to explain Mr. Maduro’s utterances. Willemstad and Oranjestad must demand the respective Consul Generals for an explanation. It should be clear that while we understand Mr. Maduro’s predicament, this is no way to treat the ABC that boast a solid historical, cultural, commercial and friendly relationship with Venezuela.