CARACAS – The government of Venezuela closed down on Tuesday contacts with Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire until a meeting is held with the authorities of those Caribbean islands to come up with a plan to fight their mafias, which, it said, are affecting the economy of the petroleum-producing country.
“President @Nicolas Maduro has extended the measure of suspension of all kinds of air and sea traffic; as well as any trade with ARUBA, CURACAO and BONAIRE,” Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck el Aissami said on Twitter.
In another message, he said the measure would be maintained until a high level meeting is held between the authorities of those islands and the Venezuelan government to agree on a plan to combat the mafias that are “stealing our assets, while smuggling strategic materials with impunity, which severely affect the services and the quality of life of our people.”
The ABC islands, as they are known for their initials, are a few kilometers (miles) off the western Venezuelan coast.
Last Friday, the Venezuelan head of state announced a 72-hour interruption of travel to those Caribbean islands in order to launch an operation to do away with the smugglers “who are damaging the Venezuelan economy.”
Maduro complained that the authorities of those islands – all territories of the Netherlands – have never answered the repeated warnings from Caracas, nor ever “applied the measures we have requested for over two years.”
“They take gold from our country illegally and legalize it over there. They take coltan, diamonds, all kinds of food products,” the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution said about the “mafias,” which he also accused of stealing copper and which the Chavistas blame for the constant power outages in Venezuela.