You've seen them around Buenos Aires--where they stand out because of the surprising lack of black Argentines--and you've wondered about the who/how/when/why. Happily, last weekend's La Nación delved into the story of Buenos Aires' recent wavelet of African immigrants. The article traces the hundreds of recent arrivals from Senegal, Nigeria, Camerún, Liberia and Sierra Leona, many of whom sell jewelry from briefcases on the city's streets. A few takeaways:
* The majority are refugees who've requested asylum (largely from wars).One final interesting factoid from the article: in 1810, 33% of Argentina's population had African blood.
* The rest have arrived via Brazil.
* 859 people requested refugee status in Argentina last year, up 47% from the previous year; 38% were Sengalese.
* Most are males under 40 without family.
* The Senegalese have problems getting refugee status because there is no war in their country and Senegal has no diplomatic relationship with Argentina; most of them enter via Brazil.
* "There are more than 2,000 of us Senegalese here," says Alioune Ndiouje, 27.
* New arrivals buy a pre-made plastic portfolio of jewelry to tell on the streets; it costs 500 pesos.
* Compared to European capitals, Buenos Aires is welcoming to Africans. "I know from friends that went to Europe that it'stough there," says Alioune. " Argentina is a country of immigrants and there's no racism, luckily."