Why is Argentina so racist
The nightmare in the promised land
"Argentina has always seen itself as a white country. The discrimination against immigrants from neighboring countries has a lot to do with skin color, facial features and poverty. Once there were posters all over the neighborhood that said: We don't want the Bolivians sometimes as a hooker. " Lourdes Rivadeneyra speaks from personal experience. She came to Argentina from Peru 18 years ago. Today she works for Inadi, the Argentine anti-discrimination agency. There she helps immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru to build a new life in Argentina.
According to official estimates, around ten percent of Argentina's 38 million inhabitants now come from these three countries, and the trend is rising - Argentina is considered the promised land, similar to the USA in Central America. Lourdes Rivadeneyra: "People dream the American dream. They believe that they will find a great life in Argentina. But unfortunately the reality is different. Many have no work, live in inhuman conditions, in slave-like working conditions."
US dollars, a very good life and delicious food?
Tolerated but not loved: Bolivians in Argentina
Surveys show that six out of ten Bolivians are considering leaving their homeland. Many of them want to go to Argentina. Because they are poorly informed and do not know what to expect on site, says Lourdes Rivadeneyra. An emigrant does not admit to his family back home if he is not doing well. And so the dream of the promised land remains. Like Shirley López, who came to Buenos Aires three years ago: "I didn't know what life was like in Argentina, but I had heard from friends that Argentina was brilliant, that you earn in dollars, that life is very good and the food is delicious. "
López is short and has a dark complexion. Not good conditions for a new life in Argentina. First Shirley worked as a seamstress in a Korean textile factory, now she is a housewife and takes care of her little daughter. The 34-year-old has lived in Buenos Aires for three years and still feels a stranger. If she hadn't met her husband there, she would have been back in Bolivia long ago. López wants the Argentines to show him more respect: "All Argentines are immigrants. And they live on the Quechua, Aymara and Querandíes lands. But they don't want to understand that. They always say that we are the invaders, the immigrants, because we are are small and have brown skin. Indians call us, fucking Bolivians, dirty bolitas. "
Formerly Italy and Spain, now Colombia and Haiti
End of the line poor district: For many immigrants, the dream ends here
Up until the middle of the 20th century, it was mainly Italian and Spanish, but also Jewish and Arab immigrants who had a major impact on Argentine society. Today the situation is different, says Lourdes Rivadeneyra. Argentina has to get used to immigrants from all regions of Latin America: "For example, few Colombians used to come, now at least ten come a day, most of them are young people. There are also a lot of refugees from Haiti, not just since the earthquake." Rivadeneyra is certain that immigrant poverty promotes xenophobia in Argentina: "A foreigner who has money is not discriminated here."
Author: Karen Naundorf
Editor: Oliver Pieper
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