July 19, 2024

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Migration: Mexican family opens Venezuelan restaurant to support migrants on their way to America

Migration: Mexican family opens Venezuelan restaurant to support migrants on their way to America

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, Commanding the ovens is Yoel Barra, who poses with two Venezuelan immigrants excited to try their food after weeks of travel.

There’s a small restaurant in the south of Mexico whose owners’ hearts don’t fit through the door.

It’s called Mexven and is located in the city of Jucidán de Zaragoza in the state of Oaxaca, where thousands of migrants heading to America cross the Darien forest between Colombia and Panama to regain strength and resources.

MexVen is a Mexican family owned business Who wants to support immigrants.

Its employees are Venezuelan nationals in transit They cook the cuisine of their land and sell lunch for 70 cents (less than US$4).

In return, workers receive weeks of savings to pay their way.

“Everyone is happy. Because the workers get paid, have a safe place to rest, and because the customers find the food they want at a good price after crossing many countries,” Luis Antonio López, co-founder, tells BBC Mundo about the restaurant.

Unity is business

Lopez and his family watched A business opportunity and unity When more immigrants started coming to Jusitan.

“At first we offered them Mexican food, but they didn’t really like it,” he says.

For tired stomachs unaccustomed to Mexican seasoning, it can be irritating and inflammatory, posing a health risk to many who compromise their immunity.

“So, what are you eating? We can find the ingredients and you’re in charge of cooking,” López proposed to some Venezuelans.

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, Luis López saw an opportunity to earn money while helping immigrants through Juicitan de Zaragoza in Oaxaca.

Passage area

This restaurant is located in Che Gomez Market in Jusidan. It’s a simple location that doesn’t appear on map apps and benefits from word of mouth.

Stoves share the room A long table for dining starting at noon.

If you suddenly have too many heaps at once, more tables will be running. They also prepare lunch for distribution in surrounding areas.

Next to the kitchen, in the same building, there are other businesses and rooms that serve as upgraded payment rooms.

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, MexVen’s kitchen shares a room with the dining room and there are “rooms” where migrants can relax.

Dozens of people spend the night on the floor of the bus stand, about 200 meters from the restaurant, or camp around town. Many sleep outside.

The nationality most detected by Mexican immigration officials among migrants crossing the country is Venezuelan. According to the United Nations International Organization for Migration.

In 2023, according to the organization, more than 220,000 Venezuelan immigrants were identified in Mexico, compared with 119,000 from Honduras, the next country in the statistics.

Juchitan, well-served on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a narrow strait of Mexico, is a frequent and temporary stop for immigrants from South America.

“When our chefs raise enough money, they leave, others come, and we hire them. We exclusively hire Venezuelans,” says López.

A gastronomic oasis

When BBC Mundo visited the restaurant at the end of May, Yoel Barra, a Venezuelan from Maracaibo, commanded the kitchen.

“Fried chicken, chicken in sauce and grilled chop,” he lists from the menu as he tosses chicken thighs into the tub.

The protein is accompanied by lentils, rice, salad, roasted ripe plantains and a buttery sauce called guasaca, which McQueen’s other two Mexican co-founders, Cidlali and Celine Sanchez, have already mastered because of its similarity to guacamole.

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, Carlos José Soto exclaimed with delight: “Real Venezuelan food!” And he wanted to quickly send a photo of his plate to his family.

The Sanchez sisters help Parra and serve the chef’s takeout in plastic boxes.

“Besides what we sell, we bring dozens of lunches to other immigrants in the station and the surrounding areas. This way they eat cheaply and we improve the restaurant,” said Venezuelan Javier N., who is in charge of distributing the food. His wife and help in the kitchen.

“They told us there was a place that served Venezuelan food here in Zucitan, and we came straight,” says Carlos José Soto of Carabobo, who recently visited the city and took photos of his food to show his family.

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, Every day, in the hot sun of Juicitan, MexVen’s Venezuelan employees distribute lunch to the surrounding migrants.

“It’s extraordinary that someone has thought about our culture and food, generating income for their family and for us, trying to achieve our goal of helping our families in Venezuela,” he says with gratitude.

“Make Yourself at Home”

As diners arrive and Venezuelans prepare lunch to the rhythm of salsa, Luis Lopez sits thoughtfully at the restaurant’s entrance.

It’s a hot day and a breeze blows through the door, attracting other Venezuelans who frequent the restaurant.

López blushes when immigrants talk about the kindness of his family a short distance away and what this community space means to them.

Angel Lemus, from Julia, who dreams of becoming a boxer, said, “It’s nice for immigrants to be supported like this, allowing them to save flavors from home.

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, MexVen, in addition to being a restaurant, has become a meeting place for the Venezuelan community in transit and a place that feels a little closer to home.

“For us We the people have done this business and in the process we are satisfied that we have met the needs of the people.. These people come after spending a lot of money, and here we feed them well and cheaply,” says Lopez.

In Mexico, organizations such as Human Rights Watch report that Venezuelan immigrants and other nationals suffer abuse, extortion and trafficking by authorities and criminal groups, and lack access to basic rights.

Venezuelans face episodes of xenophobia in receiving countries.

image source, Jose Carlos Cueto / BBC News World

title, Venezuelans insist on encouraging this place to bury stereotypical and racist behavior.

Maybe that’s why, before leaving, the staff want to put an end to stereotypes and insist that I take a photo of the restaurant’s banner: “Mexven Venezuelan food: feel at home.”

It’s the closest thing to home that many of those who go here experience on their journey and face an even more difficult path on which they risk their lives.

Thanks for all A selfless Mexican family that transformed Beans Mole.

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