C?CUTA, Colombia — Arelys Pulido had already lost one baby in a neglected Venezuelan hospital where doctors and medical gear are in increasingly short supply, so when she got pregnant again she decided to give birth in a foreign land.
She packed suitcases filled with clothes and a few prized ceramic statues of saints that she hoped would grant her and her unborn child protection as they passed through one of the perilous illegal crossings into Colombia.
Earlier this year, Zuleidys Antonella Primera was born, a lively girl with dark hair and eyes bearing no hint of the odyssey her mother went through so she could deliver her in a hospital across the border in the city of C?cuta.
Yet little Zuleidys so far has neither the citizenship of the country her parents fled nor that of the nation where she was born. She is one of a growing number of children born to undocumented Venezuelan migrants in Colombia who have been left essentially stateless.
“It’s one more thing to worry about,” said Jos? Antonio Primera, the baby’s father, a former military officer who now paints motorcycles for a living.