Luis Cova: A Venezuelan’s Journey to a Better Life in Bogotá

Luis Cova
Is a university professional and speaks six languages perfectly: Spanish, English, French, German, Polish and Slovenian

Luis Cova, a Venezuelan who arrived in Bogotá six years ago with the sole desire to better himself, make a better life for himself and help his family, tells an inspiring story of resilience and encouragement.

Venezuelan Immigrant’s Inspiring Story of Resilience and Encouragement

Although he is a university professional and speaks six languages perfectly: Spanish, English, French, German, Polish and Slovenian, the Venezuelan Luis del Valle Cova was not intimidated when he arrived in an unknown country and like all migrants he had to start from scratch, selling arepas, red wine, cigarettes and chunchullo, in the streets of Bogota.

So he started his new life in the Colombian capital, six years ago, when, overwhelmed by the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, he decided to migrate.

Initially, he came to Colombia to teach English and French and since last year he has been the leader of the “Naciones de Manos Emprendedoras” (Nations of Enterprising Hands) Foundation, which advocates for human rights and aid for his fellow Venezuelans.

Luis Cova’s Inspiring Story of Hard Work and Dedication to Make a Better Life in Bogotá

To the Social Integration Secretariat of the Bogotá Mayor’s Office, Cova told his story of struggle and overcoming, in the city that currently hosts almost 500 thousand Venezuelan migrants, or new Bogotanos, as Mayor Claudia López now calls them.

“I am an orphan of father and mother and I was raised by a foreign family in Venezuela, Polish-Yugoslavian and in the house, several languages were spoken,” says the migrant, who graduated as a graduate in languages, translator and simultaneous interpreter, from the Central University of Venezuela, in the city of Caracas.

In November 2022, the Nations of Enterprising Hands Foundation was one of the 24 social organizations selected by the District Institute of Citizen Participation (IDPAC), in the second Panas and Parces Festival: a pact for integration, in which each one was given a technological kit with a computer, a tablet, a cell phone, a light ring and a backpack to contribute to its sustainability.

Luis Cova’s Inspiring Story of Overcoming Adversity and Achieving Success in Bogotá

Luis del Valle is 61 years old and was born in Maturín, in the state of Monagas, in the northeastern region of Venezuela. He says he has already adapted to the cold climate after suffering the contrast between the 40 and 45 degrees Celsius of his homeland and the 16 degrees Celsius of Bogotá.

Cova thanks Colombia for the campaign to make the Venezuelan migrant population “visible”, through the regularization measure with the Temporary Protection Permit (PPT).

“Thank you for making us visible, taking us as human beings, as people. We are more the good ones. Without disowning my country, it is to adapt to the customs, of the culture. We are highly grateful for this gesture of the mayor of wanting to include us,” she says.

From 2020 to June 30, 2022, through the services offered by the District Secretariat of Social Integration of the Mayor’s Office of Bogota and with the support of strategic allies, 60,574 people from mixed migratory flows were assisted with social services such as psychosocial and legal assistance, food packages, referrals to health and education and emergency assistance.


Translated and reviewed by Miguel E. Balza

Migration of Venezuelans to Colombia

In recent years, a mass exodus of Venezuelans has been seen to Colombia due to their country’s political and economic instability. Many Venezuelans have had to leave their homes to seek a better life in Colombia, a country that has welcomed them with open arms and provided safety and security.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Colombia is currently host to over 1.6 million Venezuelans, with many more being welcomed in from the border each day.

This influx of refugees has caused a strain on resources and has presented a range of challenges to the Colombian government. However, the country has continued to provide help and services to those in need, despite the difficulties.

Why are Venezuelans migrating to Colombia?

Venezuelans are migrating to Colombia in record numbers due to the crisis in Venezuela. The economic downturn has led to widespread shortages of necessities, hyperinflation and the collapse of public services.

Venezuelans are seeking refuge in Colombia to gain access to basic goods, find work and escape the political unrest. Colombia has welcomed over 1.4 million Venezuelans, making it the largest recipient of Venezuelan migrants in the world.

The influx of migrants has placed a burden on Colombia’s resources, but the government has made an effort to provide aid and assistance to the migrants. Despite the challenges, the migrants are finding ways to rebuild their lives and create a new future in Colombia.

How long can a Venezuelan stay in Colombia?

Venezuelan citizens are allowed to stay in Colombia for up to 90 days without a visa. This period can be extended up to 180 days by applying for a tourist visa at the Colombian embassy in Venezuela.

Also, show evidence of enough money and a valid passport to get a visa and register with “Migración Colombia” before arriving and getting an identification card. Venezuelans requirement to leave the country after the 90-day grace period has passed to avoid fines or deportation.

How many Venezuelans are migrating to Colombia?

Venezuela’s political and economic crisis has caused an unprecedented wave of migration to Colombia. Over 1.3 million Venezuelans have crossed the border into Colombia, with most coming in 2017 and 2018.

The majority of these migrants are young people, with nearly half under the age of 25. These migrants often arrive in Colombia with little money and few possessions, seeking safety, access to basic services and the ability to find work.

The Colombian government has welcomed many of these migrants, but they still face economic and social challenges due to language barriers, competition for jobs and a lack of access to health care.

Is Colombia helping Venezuela?

Colombia is playing an important role in helping Venezuela during its political and economic crisis. It has opened its borders to let Venezuelans in and has taken in more than one million refugees.

It has also provided humanitarian aid, including food and medical care, to those in need. In addition, it has provided financial assistance to the Venezuelan government and offered technical assistance to help with the country’s infrastructure. Colombia is proving to be a reliable partner for Venezuela in these difficult times.

Where do most immigrants in Colombia come from?

Most of Colombia’s immigrants come from the neighboring countries of Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Panama. There are also immigrants from distant countries such as Spain, the United States and China.

The largest group of immigrants comes from Venezuela, due to its economic crisis and political instability. Other immigrant groups come from Ecuador, Peru, Panama and other Latin American countries. There are also immigrants from Europe and Asia.

In recent years, Colombia has seen an increase in the number of immigrants coming in search of better economic opportunities. The Colombian government has implemented a series of policies to facilitate the integration of immigrants into the country’s labor force.

How much money do I need to retire in Colombia?

Retiring in Colombia can be a great option for those looking for an affordable but enjoyable lifestyle. You can retire comfortably in Colombia for as little as $1,500 per month. This includes rent, food, transportation, entertainment and healthcare expenses.

To ensure that your funds last throughout retirement, it is important to create a budget and stick to it. Moreover, securing property rights and researching the best places to live can help you make the most of your retirement years in Colombia.

With careful planning, you can enjoy your retirement years in this vibrant country at an affordable cost.