This research paper is an exploration of the borders and boundaries put in place by the Brazilian Acolhida operation as mapped out by those who have traversed them coming from Venezuela. Hegemonic narratives put forth by the media and governmental vehicles have praised the government’s initiative, yet, fairly little work has taken into consideration the ways in which it affects Venezuelan migrants and refugees attempting and managing to make their way into the country. This paper dissects the places where these frontiers were encountered and the ways in which they were experienced by theoretically grounding the discussions on critical cartography, immigration governmentality and migration and border studies. To achieve this, this research’s collaborators and I make use of autoethnographic mapping, through which stories are drawn onto paper and narrated through words, going over paths taken from various parts of Venezuela all the way to Recife, Pernambuco. Mapping brings to the forefront how border-crossing is a highly heterogenous experience, greatly based on where one is positioned within power structures, allowing refugees to either traverse or be held back at the operation’s frontiers. Acolhida’s institutional arrangement, multidimensional background, and bordering practices have generated a framework that this research’s cartographers have experienced at diversely located borders and boundaries. These definitions are found to eventually conflate, accounting for their entanglement within the operation’s workings. Finally, mapping also sheds light on their shapeshifting qualities, and the dynamic and agentic ways through which refugees perform, adapt or contest them.

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Stapele, Naomi van
Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
International Institute of Social Studies

de Almeida, Olívia Andrade. (2020, December 18). Endless Crossings: mapping border-crossing journeys from Venezuela through Brazilian Acolhida operation’s boundaries. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from