Sunday, July 21

Baseball Has Grown in Bogotá, Colombia, Thanks to Venezuelan Migrants

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“Once you’re here, it doesn’t matter,” said Gabriel Arcos, a systems engineer who grew up cheering for a Leones rival in Venezuela and moved to Bogotá in 2016. “Maybe you don’t like the Leones of Caracas, but like I always say, these are the Leones of Bogotá.”

Four years ago, when Iraida Acosta took over as president of the Leones, she said there were only six Venezuelan children. Now, she said, most of its 64 players are Venezuelan.

Ms. Acosta, 54, said that in 2017, she and her 9-year-old son left their Venezuelan hometown near the Caribbean coast to visit her husband, who had come to Bogotá six months earlier to find work. They ended up staying because the economic opportunities were better.

Still, it wasn’t easy.

“The culture, although being brother countries, is totally different,” she said, adding later, “I cried a lot when I came here.”

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