Argentina is a land of immigrants. Many portenos are second or third generation descendants of European immigrants. Spanish and Italian influences are especially prevalent in the culture, cuisine, language and I would argue, mannerisms.
Today Argentina, especially Buenos Aires is witnessing a flux of economic refugees from Bolivia and Paraguay. Many of these migrants come in search of medical care, which is well reputed and more importantly free here in Argentina.
Argentina’s borders are fairly open and people have come in droves. Today the large immigrant presence is the source of noticeable tension. Many Argentines feel frustrated that their public hospitals are now so full of immigrants, that they aren’t available for the use of the actual taxpayers.
Certain neighborhoods in Buenos Aires are inhabited only by Bolivians. It isn’t uncommon to witness some racist discrimination against them. Physically, many Bolivians look different from the European-descended Argentines, but the more traditional dress is what really sets them apart. Bolivian women carry their babies in a sort of papoose on their backs – which always makes me smile.
I found this graffiti on the subway wall. It translates: ‘Enough Bolivians, They come to live off of our taxes.’
Here is a link to some stats and charts on immigration to Argentina: