2,500 Refugees Entered Bolivia in 5 Months; Ban by New Regime Feared
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2,500 Refugees Entered Bolivia in 5 Months; Ban by New Regime Feared

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Encouraged by the Government of President German Busch, a total of 2,500 refugees from central Europe have settled in Bolivi since November, 1938. Of this number, it is estimated that 500 have established themselves in agricultural pursuits.

In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent here, Foreign Minister Dr. Eduardo Diez de Medina declared the Government was favorably disposed to Jewish immigration and stressed the regime’s interest in encouraging entry of agriculturalists, capitalists, qualified mechanical and technical workers.

Illustrating the Government’s friendly attitude on the question, Dr. de Medina cited recent establishment of a group of Jewish agricultural immigrants in the Government colony of Ichilo. He said the colonists had been transported to the colony at Government expense and had each been granted 50 hectares (about 125 acres) of land. He also pointed out that the University of San Francisco Xavier, at Chukisaka, had added to its faculty a number of well-known Viennese professors.

Meanwhile, anti-Jewish agitation is developing here along lines familiar in other South American countries. Bolivian merchants, for example, under the instigation of Nazi business men are demanding elimination of peddling on the grounds that it constitutes “dishonest competition.” The demand, while it does not specify Jews, is aimed against several score Jewish peddlers in La Paz.

Another factor tending to stimulate uneasiness among the Jewish population is the dispatch of Bolivian “youth leader” groups, at the expense of the German Government, to the Reich for intensive courses in Nazi theories and anti-Semitism. The first such group is reported on the way back from Berlin after having completed the course.

President Busch recently indicated, however, that the Government would combat every effort to introduce racism in the nation’s life and might prohibit the dispatch of Bolivian youths to Germany.

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