You might not be hearing much about the turbulent humanitarian crisis happening in Venezuela—at the southern edge of the Caribbean. It’s surprising to think that this is a lot closer to home than we think.
In light of the deaths in Venezuela leading up to the country’s tightly controlled elections this past weekend, we think it’s important for you to hear exactly what’s happening on the ground. While the English media on the subject is scarce, these celebs are making it their mission to get the word out about this humanitarian crisis.
Winner of the Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in 2014, we had the privilege of chatting with Mariana Vega about her next ventures and new songs last fall. We spoke briefly about her early childhood in Venezuela, but it wasn’t until she published this very personal essay with Billboard where she truly speaks out on the subject.
“My family and I left Venezuela the year Chavez took office. I have seen the country’s struggles from far away, so I’m not writing these words claiming to be any kind of expert. I’m just expressing my opinion as a Venezuelan that had to leave and hasn’t been able to come back home because there is no home to come back to. My country is not the same one I left.”
She focuses on what it was like to spend so much of her childhood outside of Venezuela, her hopes for the future, and the key role that musicians and artists can play in the crisis.
During an interview for “How to Be a Latin Lover,” the Mexican actress took time out to convey a more serious message—applauding the courage of the Venezuelan protesters.
Winner of Miss Venezuela in 2016, Sayago has used her platform as an opportunity to get the word out on Venezuela’s crisis. She views the situation as beyond politics—and rather a purely humanitarian crisis that impacts all people in Venezuela, regardless of their political leanings. In between a full schedule of mechanical engineering classes and commitments as Miss Venezuela, Sayago makes it her mission to make sure people are aware of the situation and the catastrophic injuries and deaths that have occurred in the country.
Francisco Cervelli, Ender Inciarte, Salvador Perez, and Miguel Cabrera are among the MLB players of Venezuelan descent to speak out on the situation. Doing so is risky, as baseball players often face repercussions by the Maduro government by making statements of opposition to the Maduro regime. Cuban player Yasiel Puig has also spoken out on the situation in solidarity.
Ocean’s song, “Me Rehúso” has made big waves as a top song in many countries on Spotify. I always hear the song on my way to work, but haven’t been able to find a music video version, and there’s not a lot of press surrounding Ocean online. It wasn’t until an interview with Viva where he revealed the inspiration for the song—his decision to flee Venezuela for the U.S., leaving behind his girlfriend in the process. He shared,”[It’s inspired by] a girl I had to leave behind, because of the inhumane situation happening in my country. This song inspires all those couples that have to leave someone for a better future, hoping to come back and being able to bring him/her with them. Venezuela has been a dictatorship for over a decade and there is extreme inflation, poverty, lack of food, etc.”
There’s no doubt that this will leave you thinking about this song of the summer in a whole new light.
Nicky dedicated his Latin Billboard award for “El Amante” to Venezuela back in April. The Puerto Rican artist has continued to show his solidarity and support on social media since then, most recently on Instagram where he prominently features a hat dedicated to freedom in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan artist has dedicated his songs to Venezuela, and has gotten a lot more up close and personal than the other celebs on this list. While he’s been living in Miami, he recently traveled to Caracas to participate in a protest where he was attacked with tear gas. It’s not the first time he has been at odds with the government—his Venezuelan passport was revoked back in February 2016 by immigration authorities.
Ricky posted a photo of the protests on Instagram, stating that he feels Venezuela’s pain and tragedy, with well wishes for change and a positive outlook for the future.