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'We have nothing': A Venezuelan immigrant explains why so many are fleeing their country

Posted at 8:56 PM, Dec 15, 2022

DENVER — As Denver surpasses 700 migrants arriving in recent months, Mayor Michael Hancock issued an emergency declaration to prevent a “local humanitarian crisis of unsheltered migrants.”

Many of the people arriving are asylum seekers and refugees, fleeing dangerous and deadly conditions in their home countries.

The city is collaborating with nonprofit partners, such as Casa de Paz, to keep up with needed supplies and shelter and to help the arriving migrants feel safe and welcomed.

“Some of the conversations that I’ve had with families has been, you know, [that] things are really rough in the countries that they’re coming from,” said Casa de Paz executive director Andrea Loya. “But the community that we have in Denver, from even other organizations, they’re awesome. They show up. They have been signing up, and they donate, and they just want to help. And so I think our migrant friends feel that.”

Denver7 spoke to Keila Maria Pozo, an immigrant from Venezuela now living in Denver. Pozo is not a recent migrant — she has lived here for a year and a half, and recently became an American citizen — but she explained why so many are now fleeing her former home country.

“We have no health, no food, nothing,” Pozo said of her home country. “Our kids die. We have a high degree of malnutrition. You see people looking for food in the trash.”

Pozo said by even speaking to Denver7 about the conditions in Venezuela, she could be in trouble with authorities if she ever returned to the country. However, she said that she has felt very welcomed by the community, and that her experience in Denver has been “wonderful.”

“The only thing that I ask of Denver and everyone around the world is that you give us the opportunity to show you that we’re going to do the best that we can for this country,” she said.

The city of Denver and organizations like Casa de Paz are asking for donations of warm winter clothing and coats to offer migrants as they enter shelters. You can find information and links here.