CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the shutdown of all air and maritime traffic with three Caribbean islands for the next 72 hours.
Maduro said Friday evening that he was closing the nation’s maritime border with Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.
In a televised appearance, the president accused island leaders of being complicit in the illegal trafficking of goods and resources.
The islands lie a short distance from Venezuela’s coast and host oil refineries run by Venezuela’s state oil giant and U.S. subsidiary Citgo.
In recent years, Venezuelans fleeing the nation’s economic collapse have tried reaching the islands by boat.
Venezuelan authorities frequently contend the trafficking of goods out of the nation is one of the chief causes of food and medical shortages.