Aruba Country Report
Aruba is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island's political system is stable with most parties favouring centrist policies. Aruba will remain one of the most affluent countries in the Caribbean with tourism the mainstay of the economy, although the offshore financial, insurance, and reinsurance service industries are also well developed. Relations with the mainland Netherlands will remain under some strain, with budget, financial, and migration-related issues being the main source of friction. Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes, the first female head of government in Aruba, commands a narrow but stable parliamentary coalition. There is a low risk of large-scale or violent protests. Street and opportunistic crime are low by regional standards and maintourist areas are safe.
The operational environment in Aruba presents no major obstacles to foreign investment. Aruba has a modern and well-developed infrastructure by regional standards. Most foreign investment in Aruba is in the financial services, oil, and tourism industries. The country's bureaucracy is relatively efficient, and corruption levels are low by regional standards. Aruba still plays a significant role as an offshore centre for drug-related money laundering, although the authorities have taken concrete steps to fight organised crime, including legislation for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (LWTF), which foresees strict rules relating to customer due diligence, client identification and verification and the reporting of unusual transactions.
There is no specific terrorist threat in Aruba, and no threat from domestic or home-grown groups. There is a very low risk of international terrorism targeting Western interests such as bars, nightclubs, shops, restaurants, or other places where expats and tourists may gather, but there are no indications that Aruba has ever constituted a target or base of operations for terrorist groups. The Aruban Port Authority has taken measures to boost port security, working in partnership with maritime security and counter-terrorism consultancy SeaSecure to assess the risk of terrorism in the island's strategic ports.
Overall, there are no significant external threats to the island. Relations have deteriorated in the past between the Netherlands, Aruba, and the then-Netherlands Antilles on the one hand, and Venezuela under late president Hugo Chávez – who suggested in 2010 that Aruba and Curaçao could be used by the United States as a springboard for an invasion of his country. Relations since 2010 improved based on trade until Venezuela closed the countries' mutual aerial and maritime border in January 2018, arguing that scarce basic goods were being extracted and sold in Curaçao, a claim denied by the latter.
The territory has many tourists in comparison with other Caribbean nations, with most of its local labour force engaged in the tourist industry. There is a low risk of large-scale or violent protests. Unions are not militant and incidents of industrial action tend to be quickly resolved and do not pose property damage risks. Some unrest is likely around elections.