All posts tagged: Monica Phromsavanh

Monica Phromsavanh: The Lao New Yorker with Argentinian Roots

Many who know about the history of Lao refugees already know about the largest Lao Diaspora communities that existed in America, France and Canada, but little has been known about the over 1,800 Laotians who started new lives in Argentina (the 8th largest population of Lao outside of Laos). A brief survey from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees tells a snippet of what life was like for Lao Argentinians: A 1986 report indicates Laotians in particular had a difficult time adapting to Argentine life, and had difficulty finding work. [ World Refugee Survey 1986, p. 59.] Following the country’s economic decline, which sharpened after the Falklands War, the government promulgated a decree giving Indochinese refugees the possibility of acquiring Argentine nationality, of enjoying full rights, and of choosing their settlement location. [ World Refugee Survey 1983, p. 52.] Many sought jobs in Buenos Aires, and some five hundred Laotians reportedly ended up requesting repatriation after unsuccessful attempts at settling. By 1986, however, only 17 families had been granted visas to leave Argentina. [ World Refugee Survey …