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Family of Venezuelan refugees reunite in South Bay

Family of Venezuelan refugees reunited in South Bay
Family of Venezuelan refugees reunited in South Bay 02:58

SAN JOSE -- Preparing authentic Venezuelan arepas is a family affair at the Nava Querales household. 

Camila Nava Querales helps her mom Maritza Querales prepare dinner. The ingredients might be familiar but the location is new. 

The family fled political persecution in Venezuela and ended up settling in San Jose, California. 

Camila says, she doesn't mind.  

"I think this country is so beautiful," she says. 

The Nava Querales family are a part of the nearly six million Venezuelans who have escaped their homeland since 2014 due to the country's economic collapse and political instability, according to the United Nations.

Getting from South America to North America was a remarkable journey. Carlos Nava, the leader of the family, faced violent threats for speaking out against the government. 

"My father was in danger in Venezuela so he had to leave. He went to Ecuador and we were separated from him," Camila explained. 

Eventually, they reconnected in Ecuador but were only permitted to stay temporarily. That is when they applied for asylum and were assigned to the United States as their new home through the help of the International Rescue Committee in Northern California. Since 1975, the International Rescue Committee has welcomed nearly eighty thousand refugees to Northern California. 

Carlos, a lover of free speech,  says he is grateful. 

"I feel happy and blessed. Thank you, United States!" he exclaimed.

Family moments at home these days are a lot calmer. Instead of fretting about political spies barging into their home, the Nava Querales family can focus on things like learning English or enjoying a game of Uno. 

Camila says her dad is her hero. 

"He worked hard for us to come with him. It is better for our future." 

A future that the Nava family hopes will reflect peace and safety. 

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