Nicolò Filippo Rosso
LEICA Fotographie International / BarTur Photo Award: Photojournalist of the Year
Nicolò Filippo Rosso
Throughout much of Latin America, lack of job opportunities, limited access to education, and political corruption have persisted for generations, fueling cycles of violence and displacement that are both symptoms and causes of disrupted societies. I have documented this phenomenon for the past five years, traveling along migration routes from Venezuela to Colombia, Central America to Mexico and the United States, and South America in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Following migrants from different countries for a long time, I have seen countless stories of loss and separation through the eyes of the most vulnerable: those who are born, grow, and die on the move. As I documented migrants' journeys, I kept in mind the diversity of reasons that push each population to emigrate. Still, I also witnessed how the political persecution, impunity, and problematic access to primary rights such as food and healthcare broadly affect Latin America's societies, resulting in a migration polarized to Chile and the United States, considered the most robust economies of South and North America.
Venezuelans and Colombians walk to Chile, crossing the Bolivian plateau at altitudes over 3000 meters above sea level, hoping to find a job and settle new roots for their families. However, the dream hardly becomes true, and they often feel forced to walk back to the north to cross the Darien Gap and reach Central America, Mexico, and the United States.
During the past two years, despite the pandemic-related border closures, the massive flow of migrants from Central and South America, Haiti, and African and Asian countries to the United States continued, worsening the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Decades of civil war, endemic poverty, or violence make it hard for migrants to find better conditions than those fleeing. Crossing borderlands controlled by gangs and rebel groups, people are exposed to trafficking and recruitment. I followed some of them on their journey in Mexico, through the Chihuahua desert, atop the infamous cargo train known as La Bestia, and to their arrival in the United States. Some people never reach their destination. Others continue to move, often on foot, dreaming of finding safer places where they will start a new chapter of their lives. This series from the past two years of work in Chile, Mexico, and the United States is the most recent chapter of the project Exodus.