The Hague says yes to new Venezuela consul in Aruba
Aruba Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes on Thursday confirmed the approval of the credentials of Mata Figueroa, a rather controversial person who served as Minister of Defence under former Venezuela President Hugo Chávez. He is currently Governor of Isla Margarita and he has close relations with current President Nicolás Maduro.
According to Wever-Croes, the Venezuela Government on February 21 requested permission for the appointment of Mata Figueroa. On February 27, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it would take the request into consideration.
“The procedure followed the regular course and on May 1, the Venezuela Government was informed of the approval,” Wever-Croes stated in a press release. The decision was taken in consultation with the Aruba Government.
Responding to questions of the media, the Prime Minister said that to her knowledge Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok didn’t make any promises to the Venezuela Government during his visit to Caracas on April 7. The Venezuela Government did bring up the matter during Blok’s visit.
The screening process, which is part of the credentials of a new Consul General, didn’t yield any indications of possible wrongdoings or criminal antecedents that could hamper the accreditation, stated Wever-Croes. An installation date of the new Consul General has not been announced yet. Venezuela currently has an acting Consul General in Aruba.
The Prime Minister said there would be no repetition of the situation that developed with former candidate Consul General Hugo Carvajal, who was arrested upon his arrival in Aruba in 2014 and expelled shortly after as an undesired person.
Meanwhile, the maritime border between Aruba and Venezuela will remain closed at least until June 6, when a next meeting takes place between Venezuela, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire. On Thursday, the islands met with a Venezuelan delegation to discuss the conditions to re-open the border between Venezuela and the three islands.
On January 5, Venezuela unilaterally decided to close the air- and sea border, accusing Aruba and Curaçao of participating in the trafficking of contraband. Aruba categorically denied the accusations and immediately ceased all imports from Venezuela as long as there was no clarity and transparency on the Venezuela export procedures and documentation.
A preliminary agreement with Venezuela was signed on April 12, which cleared the way to re-open the borders. The Aruba delegation made clear during Thursday’s meeting that clarity was needed on the export procedures and documentation before the country would re-open the maritime border. Curaçao and Bonaire are allowing the entry of vessels from Venezuela, but these islands are also demanding clarity.
The delegations agreed to exchange documents. Venezuela will draft a list of products that may not be exported. The next meeting takes place in Venezuela on June 6. Until that date, the sea border with Aruba will remain closed.