In 2019, Al Jazeera covered the story of a family’s migration north from Venezuela, crossing the border into Colombia. As Venezuela’s economic crisis worsened, many refugees often travelled on foot, having not enough money for a bus ticket. To get from Cucuta to the next nearest town, these “caminates”, or “walkers”, must travel 195km (121 miles), climb mountains 3,200 metres (10,500 feet) above sea level and then back. Various NGOs and Colombians living in the region have set up camps to help the desperate Venezuelans endure the harsh conditions and freezing temperatures during the journey.
Maria del Pilar Figueroa lives at the most difficult point along the route, in La Laguna, Paramo de Berlin. After she witnessed the procession of Venezuelans passing by her home, she decided to open up her home as a refuge. Now, she is running a shelter there. Along with her two children, Maria dedicates her life to helping the refugees fleeing her neighbouring country. Their lives have changed completely, as have those of the Venezuelans they have met.
The number of Venezuelans leaving their country has reached four million.
Globally, Venezuelans are one of the single largest population groups displaced from their country, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR).
Filmmaker: Alejandro Bernal Rueda
Researcher/Producer: Sofia Villamil
Editors: HyoJin Park, Alejandro Bernal Rueda
Production Company: Tropico Media
Executive Producer Andrew Phillips