Paradise Lost
by Victoria Bouloubasis

project STATEMENT

Those who stay can only think about leaving. Those who leave can only dream of returning.

Venezuela is currently going through a severe humanitarian crisis that has led to millions of citizens fleeing the country. The Venezuelan diaspora and refugee crisis is the largest that the South American continent has seen in modern history.

Within that context, Venezuelans are constantly struggling with their sense of identity and belonging. What is home? Is it what you leave behind, what you carry in your backpack or what you carry within you?

The Venezuelan people have a love-hate relationship with their country: they love the landscapes, warmth, and cultural heritage, yet they hate what it has become and all of the scars that have been left on each citizen. But the truth is that a longing to return is shared by those who leave, and it is hoped for by those who are left behind. There is a melancholy of being home but feeling completely alienated in a place that you no longer recognize because all of the indications that created a feeling of being at home have disappeared under the crushing weight of the collapse of the country.

This is the place that I call home, and this my experience of our collapse.

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