Border Jobs: The Business of Work on the Colombia/Venezuela Border

Juan Thomas Ordóñez, Hugo Eduardo Ramírez Arcos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the life and work of Venezuelan migrants in the Colombia/Venezuela border neighborhood of La Parada, in the Colombian municipality of Villa del Rosario, Department of Norte de Santander. We use ethnographic fieldwork, complemented with a simple survey we helped organize in the area, to show how border jobs are shaped and depend upon a variety of actors such as state institutions, non-governmental and other humanitarian organizations, members of guerrilla groups, and paramilitaries. All these actors have influence and control different aspects of the flow of goods and people across this busy border, where the distinction between legal and illegal transits is blurry in every sense. The overlapping territorialities that these actors shape through different practices articulate a particularly precarious life for migrants who must learn to read and respond to volatile and changing systems of border control. We discuss the perspectives of migrants themselves and show how they had to respond to the effects of the quarantine instated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Borderlands Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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