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Rome Reports

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Examples of integration: A Venezuelan restaurant in the center of Rome


It is currently estimated that more than four million Venezuelans have migrated from their country. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration, Venezuela is among the “world’s biggest recent displacement crises.”

Entire families have been forced to “start from scratch.” Some, like the Moffa family, have even decided to return to the country of their ancestors, Italy. 

FRANK MOFFA
Venezuelan migrant in Rome
“The idea was after we leave Venezuela we establish our arepera restaurant here in Rome. However, when I sold everything to bring us here, I sold at a bad time and lost everything.”

Frank Moffa says it was hard to set up his company. When he first arrived in Italy, he could not work in his field. However, although it was difficult, he didn't give up in order to improve his family's conditions. 

Today everyone works together in 'El Maíz.' It is a small restaurant in the heart of the tourist center of the Eternal City. 

They provide Venezuelan food to Romans and tourists very close to the Vatican that also include 'gluten-free.'

FRANK MOFFA
Venezuelan migrant in Rome
“The most beautiful thing is to be with family” "What I always say is 'the diamond here is my wife.' It can be said that she was born in a kitchen as from a young age she has been cooking, she practically grew up there.”

Her daughter also helps in the kitchen, preparing what has become the world icon of Venezuelan cuisine: arepas. While her son helps attend to the public, in a warm, hospitable Venezuelan style. It is a characteristic that makes this restaurant very special.

On the verge of its third birthday, 'El Maiz' has become a meeting place for Venezuelan migrants and tourists in Rome.

FRANK MOFFA
Venezuelan migrant in Rome
“What really motivates us the most and make us work harder is when you hear a Venezuelan, say this arepa is good; or the cachapa is as if they ate it in Venezuela.”.

The integration of migrants and refugees is one of the greatest challenges in countries such as the United States or throughout Europe. The Italian-Venezuelan family Moffa is a clear example of how such integration is possible.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi.
Translation: Sean Richardson