by Anna Von Oehsen | Tue., Oct. 23, 2018 2:22 PM
A lot of people are familiar with Angelina Jolie for her work as a filmmaker, but the actress has also been recognized by many for her humanitarian efforts.
Over the years, she has promoted projects with various causes, from conservation to women's rights. She is especially noted for her support as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on behalf of people fleeing unsafe countries. Now, she has come to Peru to advocate for those who came there from Venezuela, leaving their homes as a result of a devastating economic depression that hit the nation.
The Emmy-winning actress shared in a statement, "I spent the last two days in Lima and at the border in Tumbes, where thousands of Venezuelans are entering on a daily basis. This region is facing one of the largest mass migrations in its history. The crisis is all the more shocking for being predictable and preventable."
Jolie has met with people from Venezuela to hear their stories of what they experienced in their native land before migrating elsewhere with hopes of freedom and more favorable circumstances.
"Every Venezuelan I met described the situation in their country as desperate...None of the Venezuelans I met want charity. They want an opportunity to help themselves," the Maleficent star explained. "The message that I heard consistently was, ‘We didn't want to leave, we had to leave.' After having spoken to so many people, it is clear to me that this is not movement by choice."
In the statement, she describes the drastic changes the refugees have gone through since coming to the new country, like a man who was a lawyer in Venezuela just a few months ago but now works in a t-shirt factory to send money home for his family. "As in nearly every displacement crisis, the countries that have fewer resources are being asked to do the most. I want to thank the people of Peru for their generous and resilient response to this difficult situation," wrote the mom of six.
Jolie then makes the connection to refugee instances happening not just in Venezuela and Peru, but around the world. According to the release, 68.5 million people have been displaced worldwide, with one person being forcibly displaced every two seconds due to persecution or conflict in the area. She calls on others to get involved in the global issue by ensuring the correct systems are in place for those struggling with such situations. "Most of all, wherever we live, we need our governments to do more to address the conflict and insecurity that is creating refugees, so that people can return to their countries. In my experience the vast majority of refugees want to do just that: they want to return home," the 41-year old stressed.
Her message comes at a time when headlines are reporting a migrant caravan of thousands of refugees en route to the United States, marching through Mexico determined to have a fresh start in a new place.
"I have been deeply touched by the dignity and strength of the Venezuelan refugees I have met on this visit, and by the warmth and generosity of the Peruvian people. Thank you very much for welcoming me to your beautiful country. Tu causa es mi causa," the starlet signed off at the end of the statement.
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