The Country

Aruba is a Caribbean island situated approximately 16 miles off the northeast coast of Venezuela and 50 miles west of Curaçao. Like other former Dutch dependencies in the area, its population is largely of mixed African ancestry, with minorities of Carib Indian and European extraction. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion. Tourism is presently of primary economic importance, making up 78 percent of the GDP in 2010. The island’s only oil refinery, which ceased operations in March 2012, was a significant source of income (see Current issues, below). The tourism sector was adversely affected by the September 2001 terrorist assaults on the United States, which contributed to a 4 percent decline in GDP for the year, as well as by negative publicity after the ...

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