Letters from Venezuelan Detainees

A collection of letters written by Venezuelan detained migrants covering the topics of their life in Venezuela, conflict, their detained experience, and their collaboration with Detainee Allies. These letters were written by six people whose identities are kept anonymous, known only by their initials: E. L., S. G., A. R., M. W., and M. R. These writers come from diverse backgrounds, but share similar experiences throughout their journey, fleeing from many called the worst humanitarian, economic, and political crisis in Venezuela. Due to the sensitivity of their detained situation, not much is known of them other than what is written.

With rising corruption and resistance throughout Venezuela caused by various foreign and domestic factors, these letters portray the injustices they fled, only to be met by another at the US-MX border. Venezuela is just one of many Latin American countries impacted by US imperialism and global capitalism, creating diverse migrant caravans to the United States, which historically and currently continues to not welcome with a humanitarian effort.

Since detained migrants are stripped of their rights, a traditional oral history is not possible. Although this work is in English, all letters were written in Spanish; I valued meaning over direct translation throughout this project. These letters were gathered from Detainee Allies’ online database, where I received access to and heard of through UCSD’s course ‘HIUS 120D: Race and Oral History in San Diego,’ where some students and I collaborated with Detainee Allies. I am a 1st year transfer Chicanx student at UCSD, and this oral history was gathered during the Spring term of 2019 for HIUS 120D.

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