Hope For Venezuelan Refugees Phase 4 JUCUM / Yukpa Community - Marta Duque and her volunteers distributing a nutritious meal to a large group of Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers “caminantes’ passing through the city of Pamplona on their way to other cities. Together, we are helping to alleviate hunger and build peace!
Learn more about the Yukpa people:
In November of 2019, VOA (Voice of America) filmed a documentary highlighting the struggle of the Yukpa people. Watch the 3-minute documentary at this link

The economic crisis in Venezuela threatens the survival of the Yukpa, an ancestral indigenous community that has been forced to emigrate in search of food. 

For centuries the Yukpa have inhabited the Serranía del Perijá in the Zulia state, but at least 350 of its members have lived for three years in a makeshift camp on the banks of the Táchira River, in the city of Cúcuta in Colombia. 

The tribe lives in precarious conditions, but at the moment they do not believe that returning to Venezuela is an option. “Here we are doing a little job, looking for scrap metal. Children eat only once, ”Dionisio Finol, one of the two chiefs of the camp set up in Cúcuta, told Venezuela 360.

"Today I went to collect scrap metal and with that I am supporting my children," he added, to describe one of the most severe problems facing the tribe: hunger. 

In Venezuela, the Yukpa were dedicated to agriculture, and part of what they produced they sold to buy basic foods such as rice or pasta. But inflation turned these foods into luxury items.

 “You don't buy with Venezuelan silver, it's very expensive, and you can't get what is medicine and food. Here in Colombia it doesn't matter, one is working and one eats, ”explains José, the other chief of the camp. 

“We stay here and the men go out to find pimpinas to eat. We are looking to eat and make at least soups, ”says Noremi Romero, while cooking for her eight children. However, although these testimonies give the idea that the tribe does not suffer from hunger, the truth is that the levels of malnutrition threaten future subsistence, with children being the most vulnerable before the lack of food and nutrients that support their normal process increase.

Limited help

Traditionally the Yukpa have been divided into two groups, those that inhabit the Perijá mountain range on the Colombian side and those that are located in Venezuelan territory. 

The government attention that the Venezuelan Yukpa receive is limited because they do not have the legal recognition of Colombia as binational indigenous people, therefore, they do not have the same access to the social programs of the Yukpa who have lived in the Perijá mountain range on the Colombian side. and who are sheltered by the special indigenous jurisdiction.

At the end of the 16th century, to survive the violence of the Spanish conquerors, the Yukpa took refuge in the mountains of Perijá. Today it is hunger that threatens the existence of a people forced to abandon their ancestral refuge in search of food.