IEU'S FEATURED TOPIC CONCERNING THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE AND UKRAINIANS ABROAD



UKRAINIANS IN SOUTH AMERICA AND LATIN AMERICA (2): PARAGUAY, URUGUAY, CHILE, VENEZUELA, MEXICO, AND CUBA

In the early 1890s peasants from Western Ukraine began to emigrate in substantial numbers to South America, most notably to Brazil. They were lured to Brazil's large tracts of uncultivated, tillable land by unscrupulous immigration agents who spread fantastic stories about its promise throughout the Galician villages. Around the same time (1895-6) a smaller number of Ukrainians immigrated to Argentina and settled mostly in the Misiones province. However, reports of intolerable living conditions encountered by immigrants in Brazil (epidemics, high mortality, exploitation by plantation owners) that reached Ukraine quelled this initial 'Brazilian fever' and stimulated, rather, emigration to Canada. The flow of emigrants from Western Ukraine to South America reactivated in the interwar period. Their most popular destination at that time was Argentina which received a contingent of approximately 50,000 Ukrainians between the two world wars. Almost 10,000 western Ukrainians emigrated to Brazil. At the same time, several thousand Ukrainian migrants moved to other South American countries, primarily Paraguay and Uruguay. The next wave of Ukrainian emigration to South America was composed of the post-World War II refugees and displaced persons. Some 7,000 of them emigrated to Brazil; 6,000, to Argentina; and 2,000 to Venezuela. As a result of further migrations communities of Ukrainian emigres (albeit often rather small) were formed in many countries in South America and Latin America... Learn more about the Ukrainian communities in Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, and Cuba by visiting the following entries:




PARAGUAY. Ukrainian immigration into Paraguay can be traced back to 1922, when a group from neighboring Argentina established itself in Uru Sapucai, in the department of Itapua. They were joined in 1926-32 by more Ukrainians, chiefly from Argentina, who were encouraged by the availability of land. The immigrants established settlements in Fram (colonies nos 2, 4, and 12, and later nos 5, 7, and 9) and nearby in Santo Domingo, Capitan Miranda, and Carlos A. Lopez. Between 1935 and 1939 a special contract between the Paraguayan and Polish governments brought approximately 3,000 Ukrainian families from Polish-ruled Western Ukraine to Paraguay. A further influx occurred in 1946-50, when several hundred Ukrainians arrived from displaced persons camps in Europe or in the Philippines (accommodating Ukrainian refugees from the Far East). The Ukrainian immigrants in Paraguay emanated from all ethnographic Ukrainian regions, from Transcarpathia to the Kuban, with emigrants from Volhynia forming the largest single regional group. No accurate figures exist regarding the number of Ukrainians in Paraguay. The community probably numbered approximately 15,000 in the 1930s. Subsequent political instability in the late 1940s and the 1950s impelled a large out-migration, mainly to Argentina, which has left the number of Ukrainians in Paraguay today at between 8,000 and 10,000. The majority continue to reside in the department of Itapua (a region located in the southeast of the republic, which adjoins the Argentine province of Misiones). Partly because of their fairly compact settlement pattern, Ukrainians in Paraguay have not been assimilated to the degree that their counterparts in Argentina and especially Uruguay have been...

Paraguay



URUGUAY. The Protestant New Israel sect that originated in Russia and fled religious persecution at home and came to Uruguay in 1913, founding the settlement of San Javier, very likely included a number of ethnic Ukrainians. Mass Ukrainian immigration to Uruguay did not commence until 1924-31, when several thousand migrants, almost exclusively from the Western Ukrainian regions of Volhynia, Polisia, Galicia, Transcarpathia, and Bukovyna, arrived. In addition a small number (approximately 50) of immigrants came from displaced persons camps after the Second World War. From the 1950s to the 1970s the community declined as a result of emigration, including to the Soviet Union (in response to the so-called 'Return to the Homeland' campaign that had come into effect in 1955). Estimates of the number of Ukrainians in Uruguay in 1938-40 have ranged from five thousand to ten thousand. Approximately half the country's Ukrainians settled in Montevideo, and most of the others in such departments as Rio Negro, Salto, San Jose, and Paysandu. Many of the Ukrainian immigrants were employed as laborers; a number were tenant farmers on the estates of wealthy landowners. Not many Ukrainians were able to establish themselves on the land owing to difficulties in gaining access to vacant tracts, but one group, largely from Volhynia, was able to found a colony in the department of Salto (Colonia Flores). Sometime after their settlement in Uruguay, a small number of Ukrainians became self-employed, establishing their own businesses and artisan workshops. By the turn of the 1950s students of Ukrainian origin were studying such subjects as agronomy and chemistry at the university in Montevideo...

Uruguay



CHILE. Individual Ukrainians immigrated to Chile before the Second World War. However, it was only after the war that Ukrainians settled in Chile in any significant numbers. The first postwar transport of Ukrainian immigrants arrived in June 1948, and shortly afterward others followed. In 1949 there were approximately three hundred Ukrainians in Chile, most of whom were skilled workers. A small number had received higher education. Ukrainians settled primarily in the country's capital Santiago, but small groups also dwelled in Temuco, Osorno, and Concepcion in the south. At the beginning of 1949, the Ukrainian Hromada association was founded in Santiago; later it was renamed Prosvita. A Ukrainian Catholic parish was formed in the late 1940s. The Ukrainian Hromda had a women's section and a mixed choir. After the departure of some of its members to Argentina and Canada, the Ukrainian Hromada was reduced to sixty active adherents by 1954. In subsequent years, the community shrank even further and the organization, which never was formalized with its own legal statute, declined. In 2014, it was estimated that there were three hundred Ukrainians in Chile. That number includes immigrants who came after 1991 and established themselves as professionals, in business, or as employees in various jobs. Most live in Santiago, although there are some families in other cities of the country. Although there is no Ukrainian cultural centre in Chile, many Ukrainians meet among themselves informally...

Chile



VENEZUELA. There were few Ukrainians in Venezuela prior to the Second World War. Between 1947 and 1950 approximately 3,400 Ukrainians arrived from displaced persons camps in Europe; they were joined by a small number of Ukrainians from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, France, and Colombia. Many of the displaced persons quickly departed to North America and left the number of Ukrainians in Venezuela (including the native-born) at an estimated 1,500 in 1968. Of this number, 800 resided in Caracas, and a total of approximately 350 in the cities of Valencia, Puerto Caballo, and Maracay. The remainder are dispersed elsewhere. Still further departures had reduced the community in the whole of Venezuela to approximately 800 by 1987. No municipalities bear Ukrainian names, although there are two streets in the Alta Vista and Los Magallanes districts of Caracas which (from 1950) bear the name 'Ucrania.' Ukrainians in Venezuela are predominantly urbanized (90 per cent). Many had tried settling on the land, but unaccustomed to farming in tropical conditions, most of them soon moved to the cities. In the late 1960s about 40 percent of the Ukrainians were unskilled and semiskilled laborers; another 35 percent were engaged as merchants, artisans, and entrepreneurs; 15 percent were in the liberal arts professions; and 10 percent were farmers and rural laborers. The Ukrainian Hromada in Venezuela was established in 1949 and obtained state approval as a nonpolitical organization and as the legal representative body for Ukrainians in Venezuela...

Venezuela



MEXICO. The foreign intervention force that helped install and maintain Archduke Maximilian of Austria as emperor of Mexico (1864-67) included soldiers recruited in the eastern crown lands of the Habsburg Empire, but the number of Ukrainians among them has not been established. According to western Ukrainian newspapers in 1928, apparently 2,000 Ukrainians from Poland and Czechoslovakia had come to Mexico in the years following the First World War. Another source asserts that the Ukrainian community in Mexico numbered 250 people in 1925. The details are sketchy, but it is clear that the Ukrainian immigration had a transient nature and encountered difficult conditions. A number of those who remained in the country formed the Society of the Ukrainian Nation (Tovarystvo Ukrainskoho Narodu/Sociedad de la Nacion Ucraniana) in Mexico City on 31 December 1924. It comprised 35 members. In 1922 the Ukrainian Republican Kapelle under the direction of Oleksander Koshyts performed in Mexico and staged more than twenty concerts in three weeks. Diplomatic relations between Mexico and Ukraine were established in 1992. President Leonid Kuchma undertook a state visit of Mexico in September 1997. Mexico opened an honourary consulate in Kyiv in 2000. Ukraine opened its embassy in Mexico in February 2004...

Mexico



CUBA. In the period between the two world wars, there was significant Ukrainian immigration to Cuba. Ukrainians formed a minority of the nearly 9,000 immigrants from Poland, most of whom were Jews, who had settled in Cuba prior to 1931. A few Ukrainian immigrants also came from Bukovyna controlled at the time by Romania. Although a 1925 estimate claimed that there were 6,000 Ukrainians in Cuba, it is more likely that the true number was closer to and perhaps under 2,000 individuals. This immigration had a strong transient character, for many of the immigrants had hoped to reach North America by way of the island. A number of letters by Ukrainian immigrants in Cuba published in the Ukrainian press in Canada and the United States painted a picture of intolerable conditions and desperate situations, even death, as part of the experience on (and off) the island. Many of the Ukrainians resettled in Canada and the United States. After departures in 1923-27, the number of Ukrainians on the island had dwindled to an estimated 800 individuals. The largest single group among the Ukrainians who remained dwelled in Havana, and it was in the Cuban capital that Ukrainian organizations were centred. Sometime in the 1920s the Ukrainian Committee was formed, which in 1928 is said to have had over a hundred members. It had its own building and maintained a library. In 1938 the Polish ambassador in Washington, DC, estimated that 60 percent of the Ukrainians remaining in Cuba had obtained Cuban citizenship...

Cuba


The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about Ukrainian communities in Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, and Cuba were made possible by the financial support of the CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR UKRAINIAN STUDIES.



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