Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Angelina Jolie Visits Venezuelan Refugees, Urges Support for Children

Angelina Jolie Visits Venezuelan Refugees, Urges Support for Children

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he plans to reopen the country's borders with Colombia on Saturday.

Long lines of Venezuelans stood at two worldwide bridges near the city of Cucuta on Saturday, waiting to have their documents checked by Colombian officials, with some carrying children on their shoulders. The South American country closed its border with Colombia in February as the Venezuela opposition party sought to import foreign aid to the South American country.

The closure had forced many Venezuelans to cross the frontier illegally to get basic necessities that were all but unattainable in Venezuela, he said, adding: "But that has become more hard during the rainy seasons, and these paths are also controlled by criminal groups".

He, Jolie and UNHCR officials had a productive meeting on Saturday morning, Duque said, including a discussion about how to nationalize the stateless children.

The announcement came ahead of a planned tour on Friday by United Nations refugee agency envoy Angelina Jolie.

The latest increase has brought the total number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees overseas to 4 million, up from 695,000 in late 2015, when the opposition's election victory set the stage for intensifying conflict with President Nicolas Maduro.

Rampietti said Maduro's decision on Friday indicated his government "does not see the situation on the border as much of a threat as they did in the past months".

The visit comes a month after a failed attempted to seize power by the opposition leader Juan Guaido.

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The country has faced shortages of basic supplies as a result of a severe years-long economic crisis.

Duque, who has supported the worldwide pressure campaign against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, also stressed the urgent need to resolve the children's status.

He has since been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the U.S. and most of Latin America.

"The pace of the outflow from Venezuela has been staggering", the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a joint statement.

The parents of Venezuelan children born overseas often struggle to register their baby's birth, either because they do not have access to an ever-shrinking number of Venezuelan consulates or because they do not have migration papers.

Dozens of nations around the world now recognise Mr Guaidó as interim president, saying Mr Maduro rigged a 2018 election and is behaving like a dictator.

Mr. Maduro says Venezuela is victim of an "economic war" led by the opposition with the help of Washington, which has levied several rounds of sanctions against his government.

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