Venezuelan and Colombian female journalists, Mariana Vincenti and myself, teamed up to report on how Colombians and Venezuelans, living on the shared border, perceive themselves and each other. We interviewed over 20 participants from all backgrounds and all ages from both countries. I secretly hoped our work would blur borders, and what I found on the ground, was not far from what I hoped for.
However, being a Colombian immigrant living abroad for many years, and now back in my country reporting from the border, I felt I had to participate in our interviews: how do I perceive Colombians and Venezuelans?
Colombians and Venezuelans, are hard working human beings. We both have stereotypes to fight off, yet we are both dedicated and warm people. We say that Colombians, and from whom I meet Venezuelans too, will always laugh, no matter how hard the challenge is. I also bore witness to the incredible solidarity between Colombians and Venezuelans.
How would I define a “border”?
A border, to me, is a social and political construct, which can be blurred and deconstructed.
Where do arepas come from?
The golden question. Our story idea came from this very question, Colombians (including myself) usually think arepas are Colombian, and Venezuelans (like Mariana) believe they are originally from Venezuela.
The conclusion of the interviews we conducted is arepas apparently have no borders, as they originated from the indigenous communities living on the territory before it was divided into two countries.