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Venezuelan migrants flee Mexican food donations in Colorado

Venezuelan migrants flee Mexican food donations in Colorado


A spoonful of salsa or green chili can liven up Mexican dishes in Colorado. But hot sauce can spoil a Venezuelan immigrant's appetite.

by Western word

Donations of spicy Mexican food do not please Venezuelan migrants, many of whom rely on free food while they wait for a job opportunity. As a member of Headwater Protectors, a group that provides clean water to homeless encampments and collects trash, Hilda Nocetti often visits migrants living on the streets and says many of them feel bad about not being able to eat spicy food. . Not wanting to waste it.

“We've already heard people in the camps say, 'We don't like it,'” Nauset says. “They usually don't eat hot red peppers or very spicy food or stuffed things.”

He adds that the problem arises from “the belief that immigrants are a monolith.” “People might think that just because you're an immigrant, you're more likely to eat Mexican food, or just because you're Latino, you're more likely to eat spicy food.”

Anthony Romero, a Colombian immigrant, says most of the spicy dishes come from local Mexican immigrants, not Americans, who tend to donate “more pizza and chicken.” Mexican immigrants have actively supported Venezuelan immigrants, according to Nocetti, calling them “bilingual immigrants who are really excited to be part of this process.”

Angel José Guillermo Velasquez, a Venezuelan immigrant who lives in Denver, says spicy food causes problems for his digestive system, but he forces himself to eat free dishes as a sign of gratitude. The spicy donations are usually Mexican dishes, and Velasquez says he simply can't stand the country's cuisine.

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“That's his style and I respect it,” Velasquez says. “I don't really like spicy food, but if they offer it to me in any way, I have to eat it.”

Nucete also serves on the board of Papagayo, a leading nonprofit organization that helps Denver find housing and jobs for immigrants, and has been co-chair of the Colorado Health Equity Commission since 2021. A Venezuelan national who arrived in the United States in 2007, she recommends Denver residents minimize Donate hot dishes.

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