The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is an unprecedented event in the region. During the last 24 hours, we have seen thousands of people walking to Cúcuta, Colombia, to support the arrival of humanitarian aid to Venezuela and to attend the Venezuela Live Aid concert on the Colombian side of the border. This event increases the tension between Nicolás Maduro and the opposition, resulting in the closing of borders and violent confrontations already leaving some victims.
The Venezuelan people have suffered the growing famine, insecurity, and poverty; forcing millions to abandon their home to seek refuge in other countries becoming one of the largest migratory movements in the history of our region.
Given these facts, the YMCA of Venezuela keeps its doors open to provide opportunity and hope to hundreds of families with the purpose of building fair and equitable communities.
The international YMCA family has not been indifferent. YMCAs such as Bogota, Santiago and Peru had hired some of the former staff members of the YMCA of Venezuela. The YMCA of Aruba adapted its youth programs to accommodate the growing number of Venezuelan children arriving at its doors. Collectively, we provide a Christmas basket with basic-food and other items to the YMCA employees in Caracas and Valencia, providing relief to the economy of the YMCA families, our families.
We also acknowledge the personal efforts that many of you do every day through your churches or personal networks to aid Venezuela. All these initiatives express our collective solidarity, appreciation, and affection for our Venezuelan brothers and sisters inside and outside of Venezuela.
Today, we share the report of the campaign “YMCA with Venezuela” to describe the activities implemented with the support of the international YMCA family, but also to stress on such a significant day our desire of a prosperous Venezuela.
I also use this opportunity to highlight the leadership of colleagues and friends of the Venezuelan YMCA such as Rafael Aponte, Hernan Romero, Elias Polo, Martín García, Marcos García and Wanda Vargas who are examples of humility, sacrifice, and service. I thank each one of them for their strength and for ensuring that our mission continues to reach children and youth at crucial times in their nation.
I invite you to continue praying for our Venezuelan sisters and brothers. The attached report is also available at
Thank you for your attention and for your solidarity with Venezuela.
Rodrigo Antonio Merino Arango
YMCA América Latina & Caribe