Government and politics
Located in Central America according to globalsciencellc.com, Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but maintains extensive control over its affairs except for matters related to national defense, citizenship, foreign affairs, and extradition. Aruba has its own laws, constitution, government, and official currency. The judiciary resides in the Supreme Court of Justice of Aruba, whose judges are appointed by the Dutch monarch. The Constitution of Aruba dates from 1986.
The Head of State is the current monarch of the Netherlands, who is represented in Aruba by the Governor of Aruba, elected for a term of six years. The Head of Government is the Prime Minister of Aruba who forms, together with the Council of Ministers, the executive branch of the government.
The members of the Council of Ministers are elected by the Aruba Parliament, a unicameral body called Staten, which has 21 seats and represents the legislative branch. Staten members are elected by direct and popular vote for a four-year term.
It is an island of the Lesser Antilles, the westernmost of the Sotavento group 25 km north of the Paraguaná peninsula, northwest of Venezuela, south of the Caribbean Sea, east of the La Guajira peninsula (Colombia) and just west of the island of Curaçao. It was part of the Netherlands Antilles, although since January 1, 1986 it is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
It is not part of the European Union like other territories of European sovereignty that share this status, such as Greenland (Denmark), French Polynesia (France) and the Cayman Islands (United Kingdom). However, there are other territories outside Europe under the sovereignty of European Union countries, which are an integral part of it (ie: French Guiana in South America). Despite this, all citizens of Aruba have a Dutch passport, and therefore Arubans enjoy the same rights as citizens of the European Union.
The majority of the population is descended from the Spanish and Dutch who dominated the island and the black population, along with the Arawaks, who were the natives of the island and who were allowed to graze and cattle in the time of Dutch domination. Although there are currently no Arawak Indians, the ethnic heritage is very visible, being one of the strongest in the Caribbean. Recently, immigrants from America and the Caribbean islands have arrived in search of work. People of 40 different nationalities coexist on the island.
The topography and vegetation are unusual for a Caribbean island. On the southern and western coasts there are miles of pristine white beaches listed as some of the most beautiful in the world; which are the basis of a tourist asset, which is the pillar of the island’s economy.
Aruba is located on the Caribbean tectonic plate. The island is made up of limestone and covered hills, with cliffs on the north and northeast coast and with coral reefs on the south coast.
The interior is colorful with a number of trees and a variety of cacti and rock formations. And as the emblem of the island, here are the trees that have made it famous; the watapana or divi-divi, which, thanks to the constant trade winds, remain sculpted in forms bent towards the south-west.
Its warm and sunny climate throughout the year makes Aruba a paradise for its residents and visitors alike. The rains are moderate and reach an average rainfall of 408.9 mm (16.1 ”) per year. The average temperature is 28ºC (82ºF) accompanied by refreshing winds from the ocean.
Hurricanes and tropical storms rarely approach the Arubian coast due to its location outside the hurricane zone.
About 70% of Aruba’s GDP comes from tourism or related activities, and 75% of visitors come from the United States. Before obtaining its autonomous status, the main activity was oil refining ; currently this activity has a small influence on the economy. Agriculture and manufacturing also have a small economic impact. The Aruba guilder is pegged to the US dollar of 1.79: 1. Its main trading partners are Venezuela, the United States, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Despite its small territorial extension, Aruba is, according to data from the World Coffee Organization (2003), the second country with the highest consumption of coffee worldwide, only surpassed by Finland.
The Aruban Florin, is the official currency of Aruba, it is subdivided into 100 cents. There are silver coins of 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, 1, 2 1/2 and 5 florins.
Tourism is the main support of the small Aruban economy, the largest source of employment for the island’s residents. The rapid growth of the tourism sector during the 1990s has led to a substantial expansion of other economic activities. Real estate construction, with greater capacity in hotels, is five times higher than in 1985. This has produced low unemployment figures, leading to a lack of labor and a rise in wages.
The Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) Aruba is located near Oranjestad, where Aruba Airlines is the main operation center. This airport has daily flights to several cities in different countries.
Aruba’s public bus transportation is provided by Arubus, a state-owned company that operates from 3:30 am to 12:30 am 365 days a year. There is also a private van service that provides transportation services in certain areas such as the hotel area, San Nicolás, Santa Cruz and Noord.