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Chile Chilean Swedes Sweden
Suecos chilenos
Svenskchilenare
Total population
42.396
Regions with significant populations
Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö
Languages

Swedish, Chilean Spanish

Religion

Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism

Related ethnic groups

Chilean people, Spanish Chileans, Swedish people

Origins

Chilean Swedes are Chileans who have immigranted to Sweden, have Swedish citizenship and their descendents born in Sweden. Before the military coup in 1973, few Chileans emigrated to Sweden. Compared to other Latin American countries, Chile had a democratic government and stability. At the beginning mostly where politicians, politically active and intellectuals who came to Sweden but during the last years many poor people have arrived in hope that they can have a better life and provide a better future for its family. Today many live in the bigger cities like Göteborg, Malmö and Stockholm and it is the biggest and one of the most important Latin American groups in Sweden.

The Coup 1973

Chilean people started immigrating in the 1970s in order to escape the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Sweden was known to be a social democratic country and the government allowed refugees to come to Sweden. But for many the time adapting to their new home country was difficult. Language barriers, colder weather and monopolies on tv, radio, alcohol sales for example were a huge contrast to Chile. Many who came to Sweden continued to support the overthrowned Salvador Allende-government and when Sweden were going to play a Davis Cup-match in tennis against Chile in 1975, a large protest movement tried to stop the match. The Hoola Bandoola Band even wrote a song titled "Stoppa matchen" (Stop the match). Almost 10 000 people demonstrated against the decision to play but the match was played but without spectators. When Milton Friedman received his Nobel Prize in 1976, similar protest organized both by swedes and Chileans where once again seen on the streets.

After the coup

During the 1980s after Pinochet's economic reforms many Chileans were forced to leave poverty in their home country in hope to seek better opportunities in Sweden, where many already lived. Some helped the newly arrived so they could integrate in the Swedish society. For a short period inmigration from Chile increased after the '70s and once again peaked. Today Chile is considered to be democratic and (by South American standards) rich, which has decreased immigration after the installation of a democratic government in 1991. Chileans who want to visit Sweden can stay three months without a visa thanks to the stability of the country and agreements between the countries. On the other hand, for Chileans who want to stay permanently in Sweden, it has become much more difficult for them to gain a permanent visa.

The group is considered today to be one of the most well integrated in the Swedish society so Sveriges Radio (Swedens Public Radio) announced that they would stop broadcasting news in Spanish in 2005 [1]. A big majority are Catholics and celebrate Easter, Christmas and New Year in the same days as the Swedes. They are the largest Latin American group in Sweden and celebrate their culture in ways such as commemorating Chilean Indepedence Day or Fiestas Patrias. Thus they keep alive Chilean folk traditions such as the cueca and huaso costumes.

Notable Chilean-Swedes:

Rossana Dinamarca , politician, member of parlament, active in the Left Party
Luciano Astudillo, politician active in the Social Democratic Party
Sergio Badilla Castillo, poet
Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, biologist and scientist
Sebastian Castro-Tello, football/soccer player
Matias Concha, football/soccer player
Rafael Edholm, actor chilean father
Daniela Lincoln Saavedra, female long jumper
Pablo Piñones-Arce, football/soccer player
Mauricio Rojas, former leftist (MIR) now politician for Folkpartiet (Swedish Liberal Party)
America Vera Zavala, politician, active in the Left Party
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