Hundreds of Colombians are voluntarily — and involuntarily — fleeing Venezuela after Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, initiated a crackdown on immigration last week, announcing that any residents of Colombian descent living in Venezuela would be forced to leave the country and their homes will be marked for demolishment shortly thereafter.
President Maduro claims that the reason behind his immigration enforcement stems from an situation where three Venezuelan soldiers were shot and wounded by Colombian paramilitary groups allegedly under the order of former Colombian president, Álvaro Uribe, who Maduro claims aims to overthrow his government, reported The New York Times. The Venezuelan president also claims that Colombian immigrants include smugglers who take much-needed resources from his country causing shortages and driving up prices for products in Venezuela. Immigrants also are part of paramilitary groups that aim to bring an end to his political party’s reign in Venezuela, according to Maduro.
While Colombian descendants wade across the muddy waters of the Táchira River that separates Venezuela and Colombia, Colombian reggaeton artist, J Balvin, took to social media to decry Maduro’s ill-treatment of his fellow Colombians and declare that all “Latinos Are Family.”
By launching a social media campaign titled #LatinosSomosFamilia (Latinos Are Family) to address the Venezuelan-Colombian immigration crisis, Balvin hopes to raise awareness of the unjust situation. He hopes to gain support for the movement by asking followers to sign a petition on the movement’s official website, latinossomosfamilia.com.
In a YouTube video, J Balvin says that he disagrees with the situation at the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and calls for support from all Latin Americans and non Latin Americans to bring forth a message of tolerance and love.
The “Ginza” rapper also announced his “Latinos Somos Familia” movement on his Instagram by posting an image which featured a photo of himself with the words “La Familia” (The Family) up top— which also served as the title for his most recent album—along with the phrase “Unete Al Moviemento” (Join The Movement), and the Latinos Somos Familia website address.
Many Latino celebs, including, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, Farruko, and Zion (of Zion & Lennox), have joined Balvin on his mission.
The “Latinos Somos Familia” petition has acquired over 90,000 signatures.