In parts of Latin America, lack of job opportunities, limited access to education, and political corruption have persisted for generations, fueling cycles of violence and displacement that are both symptoms and causes of disrupted societies. I have documented this phenomenon for the past four years — traveling along migration routes from Venezuela to Colombia and from Central America to Mexico and the United States.
Since 2018, I have spent periods of months and weeks in the Colombian departments of La Guajira and Norte de Santander, the main entries from Venezuela, and along the Andean routes that connect the border with the capital city Bogotà. A Venezuelan political crisis has led to an outflow of 5 million migrants since 2016. Colombia has been the country most affected by this exodus, but many migrants have kept moving to other countries, hoping to find a safer place and jobs.
In 2021, I traveled to Honduras in the aftermath of hurricanes Eta and Iota. There, flooding and mudslides disrupted the lives of 4.5 million people, leading to a significant migration toward the United States — which came on the heels of other recent migrations, often caused by political instability and uncontrolled gang violence.
Following migrants from different countries for such a long time, I have seen countless stories of loss and separation through the eyes of the most vulnerable: those who are born, grow and die on the move. As I documented migrants’ journeys, I kept in mind the diversity of reasons that push each population to emigrate, but I also understood that human mobility broadly affects Latin America’s societies.
Decades of civil war, endemic poverty, or violence make it hard for migrants to find better conditions than those they are fleeing. Crossing borderlands controlled by gangs and rebel groups, people are exposed to trafficking and recruitment. Some never reach their destination. Others continue to move, often on foot, hoping to find a place where they might start a new chapter of their lives.