Colonialism has just shape-shifted in the Caribbean. Many smaller nations and islands are still part of former imperialist powers; some as colonies, some as autonomous regions, and some as dependent territories. These territories seem like of no harm given their size and political might. However, the cunning minds of Western superpowers are always at work for misusing them given their geographical location and bowing attitude. These territories are used by them to keep their narrative alive in the region.
The Dutch Caribbean is one such territory. However, its furthering of Western interest in the region has come to hound its identity with threats of war looming over it.
Nicolas Maduro and the West
When President Nicolas Maduro took charge of Venezuela in 2013, the West’ ear got perked up. The West presumed that Maduro’s Caracas will challenge their hegemony in the Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is significant for the West because it is a cornucopia of oil, natural gas, minerals and what not.
The US got insecure and started destroying the nation economically, and consequently placed several sanctions on it. These sanctions are more or less similar to what are placed recently on Russia due to the Russia-Ukraine War. For over 15 years, the United States has imposed sanctions in response to activities of the Venezuelan government and Venezuelan individuals.
Due to these sanctions, in 2019, the nation faced the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere. The West also installed an opposition government in Venezuela with Juan Gaido as its leader. During this time, Maduro’s rivalry with the Dutch Caribbean started.
The Dutch Caribbean and the Western Narrative
The Dutch Caribbean encompasses six islands situated in the Caribbean Sea that are under the Kingdom of Netherlands. Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten became a constituent country within the Kingdom and the islands of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are now special overseas municipalities.
When the friction between Venezuela and the USA arose, the Netherlands took the charge of carrying the USA’s mission in the region. Then, the above-mentioned territories of the Netherlands one by one recognised Gaido. Caracas was declared to be poverty stricken. Many aids, then, were promised by Colombia, Brazil and the Dutch Caribbean as well.
Government of Nicolas Maduro then pledged to block offers of foreign aid claiming any such assistance was part of an invasion plan to overthrow his government. Maduro closed his borders for the European kingdom’s islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire. The maritime and air connections were also severed. Maduro’s claims were not hollow, though.
As the Hague remains in charge of the foreign and defence policies of these islands, they are a threat for the region. The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, which operates from bases located in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten described Venezuela as having “destabilizing consequences for the entire region.”
Even recently, Curacao was found involved in carrying oil shipments from Venezuela’s PDVSA, which has been sanctioned by USA, and sending it to the American businessman. Curacao also still detains Venezuelans migrants and denies them protection, which again is along the lines of the West’s agendas of pressurising Caracas.
These European territories in the region are constantly pushing western narrative in the region. Even when the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, the Dutch Caribbean echoed West’s voice in the Caribbean region. Even though the harsh Western sanctions on Russia destroyed the Caribbean economy and their food supplies, these islands kept singing praises of the West.
Maduro’s War on Dutch Caribbean
Due to these reasons, Nicolas Maduro has always seen the Dutch Caribbean as a threat to the sovereignty of Caracas. The continuous attack by the West on Venezuela through these territories has led to the occasional verbal threat from the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Will Nicolas Maduro attack these nations is a thing of the future. But, if he chooses to, the other threats that are looming over the Dutch Caribbean will make them the ultimate loser of that war.