BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A little boy charges along the highway, his red plastic shoes glowing in the twilight. The suitcase he pulls weighs almost as much as he does. A truck throttles by, threatening to blow him off his feet. But Sebastián Ventura, who at just 6 has already taken on the role of family cheerleader, urges his family on.

“To Venezuela!” he shouts.

His mother, four months pregnant, rushes to keep up. There are hundreds of people on the highway that night, all Venezuelans who had fled their country’s collapse before the pandemic and found refuge in Colombia. Now, after losing their jobs amid the economic crash that followed the virus, they are trying desperately to get back home, where at least they can rely on family.

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