Zulian families receive the New Year with absences and distances

Zulian families receive the New Year with absences and distances

New Year is a time for reunions for Zulians, even through digital screens with video calls that skip time zones to wish a happy future

Zulians have lived harsh realities in recent years. That region is of the most beaten due to the electricity crisis, the lack of waterfor the increase in cost of life, the gasoline shortage and public administrations loaded with debts and corruption, among other ills. Its inhabitants have then chosen to migrate, within the country or outside the borders, also taking advantage of the fact that the land routes to Colombia are close because it is a border state.

For this reason, and despite the fact that the Christmas holidays are synonymous with family togetherness, happiness and reunions, for Zulians who are far from their homes today it only represents sadness and melancholy.

This December 31, there are many Zulians who will not be able to be together as a family, the majority are part of the 7.1 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants around the world. A large number of these Zulians live in Latin American, Caribbean and European countries, others have stayed in Venezuela, moving their lives to Caracas, Margarita, Valencia or Trujillo, for example, in search of new alternatives.

In Zulia the arrival of 2023 will be for many with absences. Some say that “it is difficult” to get used to giving a New Year’s hug through a cell phone or computer screen. They believe that hugs and human affection are the true protagonists of New Year’s Eve, “that warmth” that is perceived at the moment of that family hug cannot be captured on a screen.

«In the country where I am there is an hour difference, I always hope that it is 12 there in Venezuela, which is the time that matters to me. Five minutes before I join the video call with my daughter and my brothers who are there in Zulia and while we wait for the countdown we talk about the New Year’s Eve dinner and we catch up,” said Nilda Casique, a resident of Los Ports of Altagracia resident in Colombia.

Casique has not received the new year with her family for three years. For her, the countdown is the most significant thing of the night. “Family comes together with one voice,” she said through tears. «For four years I have not hugged with my eldest son and the youngest of the females. This year, the eldest of the female also left the country. Now I have three of my children away from me on these dates“said Madgloris Medina, a Zulian mother.

«I have a daughter in Peru, a son in Barranquilla, the other is in Bogotá. I also have two of my brothers far away, one in Ecuador and the other in Margarita, I haven’t hugged them for five years. I don’t know my grandchildren in person, I have three,” added Medina. «My daughters always send me money to prepare dinner on the 31st, we make the video calls a day before to show them the preparations and on the 31st, ten minutes before, we call each other to receive the cannon shot. I hope to give them a hug again.”

With the arrival of the new year, families will toast from a distance. Alejandra Pérez, a resident of Los Puertos de Altagracia, explained that most of her relatives left for Spain in the last five years. «On the 31st we communicated by video calls, and we also shared photos of our dinners. Due to the time difference, they receive the new year first and then we call them. There are opportunities that we receive the new year and they connect to celebrate together with us and toast”, when in Madrid it is five in the morning.

The return to a Zulia that is changing

The economic changes in Venezuela, and particularly in the state of Zulia, have renewed the opportunities for meetings between its inhabitants. Also, the management of the new authorities who have been leading the region for a year. For this reason, not everything is sad for Zulian families, since this year many Zulians have returned to spend these holidays with their loved ones, after so many years away.

«Six years we had not seen my younger brother, he was in Quito, Ecuador. On December 17, he returned and with him the joy and hope of all the members of the family. Absence has always struck us in the heart, and having him with us is gratifying,” said Ana Herminia Bohórquez.

“If we decided to return, it was because we needed to be with our parents and relatives, not because Venezuela was fixed. Sure, there is a little progress, but I think there is still a lot to improve,” said Keilis Nava, a returnee from Zulia.

Zulian families do not lose hope that one day their loved ones can return and meet again to give each other that hug full of family warmth and love..

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