28 Feb 2019

Argentina is never sleeping!

Aneta Nedyalkova

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Arg1Aksinia Ivanova and eng. Ivan Tsankov have lived in Buenos Aires for 19 years. They first go to Argentina as guests of their friends, they fall in love in this remote sunny country and stay there to create a new home in a new location. My acquaintance with them is one of the most enjoyable experiences in the past 2018.

Aksinia is by education economist. Most of her career she has worked in the banking and financial sectors. Currently, she works at a law firm in Argentina, and is about to get her lawyer diploma.

Her husband - eng. Ivan Tsankov, is a computer specialist. His career in Bulgaria is related to electronics and information technology. He has also worked in the field of documentary cinema. In Argentina, he has his own support business for electronic and computer equipment, web and graphic design.

In Argentina, they have established media - an information portal and Internet radio that support voluntarily, and although they are not journalists, their shows are extremely successful and not only among the Bulgarian public.

Aksinia and Ivan are also creators of the extremely interesting documentary "Corazón como un pájaro" - dedicated to the "singer of Chaco", as was once called the poet of Bulgarian origin, Mario Nestoroff - the most prominent artist of the Bulgarian diaspora in Argentina. 

The interview with Aksinia and Ivan will fascinate you with the life story of two successful Bulgarians in distant Argentina.

1/ How long has media existed? Why was it created?

As representatives of the Civil Association "The Bulgarians in Argentina" our goal is to promote and celebrate the Bulgarian culture and spirituality in all their possible manifestations, to spread the history of the Bulgarian people, our traditions and rich folklore; to help strengthen the historical and emotional ties between Bulgaria and Argentina; to make Bulgaria more famous in the Latin American country and, last but not least, to help unite our compatriots here.

We do this by producing a variety of multimedia products in Spanish aimed at presenting our country in Argentina and building a cultural bridge between the two nations:

- we have built a bilingual information portal on the Internet (www.losbulgaros.com.ar). In Spanish, it introduces readers to everything related to Bulgaria - news, cultural events, traditions and folk festivals, history, lifestyle, sports, national cuisine and more. A useful columnin it is " Busco mis raíces" - a kind of bridge that helps those fellow countrymen in Argentina who have lost their relations with their relatives in Bulgaria over the years, to re-establish them again. The website enjoys great popularity and is visited and read by all Hispanic speaking countries. In the Bulgarian language, reciprocal information about Argentina is provided. The common for both sections is the part presenting the manifestations of the society and the life of the Bulgarian community here;

- we support Internet Radio "My Bulgaria" - the only Bulgarian media of this type, not only in Argentina, but also across the Latin American continent. Our broadcasts are on cultural topics related to Bulgaria and are in Spanish. This is due to the fact that the predominant part of the Bulgarian community in Argentina consists of heirs of Bulgarian emigrants from different generations who do not know our language and on the other hand to reach the listeners in all the Spanish-speaking countries.

2/ Is the diaspora in the country big? Are there any clear statistics on this issue?

Our economic migration to South America began in the very beginning of the twentieth century. The first Bulgarian immigrants settled in Argentina in 1906, a large settling wave in June 1914. The mass arrival of Bulgarians in Argentina began in 1922. To everyone who has settled in the country was promised as much land as he could cultivate. Bigger groups settled in 1923, after 1930 and after 1989. Argentina is the first Latin American country with which Bulgaria established diplomatic relations in 1931. Before it, outside Europe, we have had such relationships only with the United States and Iran.

Bulgarian immigrants arriving at the port of Buenos Aires are divided into three large migratory flows: one to the province of Chaco, where cotton production is concentrated, the other to the geographical area of ​​Patagonia, where oil refineries - mainly in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia - the third is directed to meat processing in the city of Berisso. Buenos Aires is the place where construction workers, small traders, intellectuals are concentrated.

The Bulgarian community in Argentina is absolutely integrated, but at the same time jealously keeps its national consciousness and spirit, it boasts its origin. Although the third and fourth generations have gone a long way from their roots and most do not speak Bulgarian, they still keep alive the relationship with each other and with Bulgaria, shaping the image of our community. It is difficult to calculate how accurately the people of Argentina are children or grandchildren of Bulgarians, the Bulgarian Diaspora here is a natural bridge serving to deepen the ties and friendship between the two countries. The merging of cultures obviously enriches both Argentina and Bulgaria.


3/ Tell us about the city you live in, the region, the nature ... What do you like in it, where do you like to go in your free time? Which is the tourist attraction you will advise a person who has never set foot in your city to see first?

Buenos Aires - the city of the “fresh air." Everyone who has had the pleasure of visiting it is amazed by its size - everything is great here. The two largest streets in the world are located here. With its 30 kilometre length, Rivadavia is the longest street in the world. The other – “9 dejulio” boulevard (Ninth of July) amazes with its 10 lanes in every direction. Its name is dedicated to the date of independence of Argentina from Spain in 1816. It is also the largest shopping area in the world. On it is the famous Colon Theater - one of the biggest opera and ballet centers with world fame. It is located in the center of the capital, not far from Obelisk - one of the symbols of the city. His acoustics are flawless. At the biggest Latin American opera scene have performed many of the most famous Bulgarian opera singers, such as Petar Raychev, Lyuba Velich, Boris Hristov, Nikolay Gyaurov, Raina Kabaivanska, Nikola Giuzelev, Anna Tomova-Sintova, Gena Dimitrova, Julian Konstantinov and others.

The city's tour must necessarily include the La Boca neighborhood, famous for its colourful houses and being the cradle of Argentinean tango. Here is the famous "Kaminito" street (the trail). The houses built by poor Italian emigrants at the end of the 19th century are made of handmade materials painted with colorful paints in as bright colors as possible. Another compulsory stop in this picturesque neighbourhood is the so-called La Bombonera, the stadium of the Boca Juniors team, one of the two Buenos Aires grandees, where as a young footballer has trained Diego Maradona. For Argentineans, football is a religion. Everyone who visited the city must go to the antiques market in San Telmo. The walk should continue to the port of Puerto Madero and the coastal street of the Rio de la Plata River. Impressive is the view of the many moored yachts along the coast. Another landmark, which immediately catches the eye, is "The Bridge of Women". It can be said that there is the "women's neighborhood", because all streets bear names of women. The bridge itself was designed by a Spanish architect and symbolized a couple dancing tango. The most famous square in Buenos Aires, Plaza de mayo, is also not to be missed. There is located the notorious Casa Rosada, or translated "Rose House," as it’s called the presidential palace with the famous balcony from which Eva Peron pronounced her speeches. 

The tour can continue to one of the expensive neighborhoods of the city - Palermo. Here is the famous work of modern art - the metal flower that is designed to dissolve in the morning and shrink in the evening. It is recommended to visit the Japanese garden, the planetarium and the rose garden. In the neighborhood of Recoleta, you must visit the cemetery where Evita Peron was buried. It consists of family tombs, each of which is a work of art. Interesting are the experiences in Tigre, a town located on the delta of the Parana river, which along with the Uruguay River flows into Rio de la Plata. The water is brown, but this is not due to contamination rather to the presence of sediment particles.

Being in Buenos Aires and not trying the veal steak is like a crime. And of course, what would be the city without the tango - a mixture of beauty, rhythms and sculpture. A spectacle that is the apotheosis of passion and love. More can be said, but it is better to see and experience it.

4/ Where and when is the diaspora gathering most often? What are the traditional events that gather the diaspora every year?

In 2018 we celebrated the following Bulgarian traditional holidays:

- Our National Holiday March 3rd and the Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature, May 24th, we celebrated together with the Bulgarian Cultural Society “Ivan Vazov” in the town of Berisso;

- on February 19, representatives of the organization paid respect to Vasil Levski by laying flowers on his monument in Buenos Aires and we did a special broadcast on the internet radio "My Bulgaria" on the 145th anniversary of the tragic death of the Apostle of Freedom;

- traditionally, the other dates of the Bulgarian calendar, such as Baba Marta, March 8, Easter (Resurrection of Christ), May 6 (St. George day) – Day of Courage and the Bulgarian Army, June 2 - Day of Botev and the ones who died for Freedom, September 6 - Unification Day, September 22 - Independence Day of Bulgaria, 1st November – Day of theleaders of the Bulgarian National Revival, as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations and other Christian holidays, our organization celebrates through specially prepared "My Bulgaria" internet radio broadcasts and / or by publishing relevant materials at www.losbulgaros.com.ar


5/ Are there interesting stories of Bulgarians who live or have lived in Argentina and are worth telling?

The documentary "Corazón como un pájaro" is dedicated to the "singer from Chaco," as the poet of Bulgarian origin, Mario Nestoroff, the most prominent artist of our diaspora in Argentina, was once known. The thirty-minute film introduces the viewer to the history of Bulgarian emigration in this country. Introduces our community in the native land of Mario Nestoroff and goes into a story about his life. In his lifetime he does not publish a book and is little known for his poems. But after his death, his poetry has been appropriately appreciated and occupies a decent place in the culture of Argentina. And recently, thanks to the efforts of the Association, the name of the artist is becoming more and more popular in Bulgaria and around the world. So far, the film has been shown in Sofia and Buenos Aires, and at the end of 2018 in Skopje at the Fourteenth World Meeting of Bulgarian Media.

Another interesting personality we would like to tell about is Omar Hector Tsenoff - he is perhaps the most distinguished contemporary intellectual of the Bulgarian diaspora in Argentina. Born December 19, 1950 in the city of Las Brenas, province of Chaco. Son of Slavcho Tsenoff - Bulgarian emigrant, and Irma Ferratto, Argentinean - a descendant of Italian immigrants from Piedmont. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the National University of Rosario. Founder and member of the first teacher council of the Miguel Nemé Higher Institute in his hometown, as well as its rector. In the 70s of the last century, he was a correspondent and director of the Norte newspaper agency in this city and the first correspondent of Radio Mokovi, broadcasting remotely from there. Mayor of Las Brenas from 1981 to 1983, member and chairman of the Municipal Committee for Culture there in different periods. Author of 9 books. Winner of numerous awards from Argentine Writers' Union competitions.

In 2016, Internet Radio "My Bulgaria" broadcast a special program for Mr. Tsenoff, including a large interview. Articles about the writer, written by Aksinia Ivanova, are published in various Bulgarian print and electronic media.

6/ How do you manage to maintain news and media publications?

Each product must be accompanied by a detailed description of its main features. This is valid for both the information portal and the radio. Creating a visual identity and logo is at the heart of every memorable brand. The goal of our internet radio and website is to stand out from others! A good idea was the slogan for our brand, which is: Internet radio "My Bulgaria" - the voice of the Bulgarians in Argentina.

On the the topic of how we manage to keep news and publications in our media a lot can be written and said. One thing is certain - everything changes every day, and this makes us keep track of the latest trends and topics in social media. This is especially true for us as we do everything ourselves. Our advantage is that we perform all functions - planning, budgeting, writing our content, choosing photos, visualising all the content.

Nowadays, communication runs without stopping 24/7. In the time we live, no institution or public person can afford to stay away from communication. The public image of an institution or a public figure no longer depends only on their good work and to a great extent on their ability to present their achievements to the audience.

The ways in which information reaches our compatriots is of great importance to our organization. For this reason, we created the first Bulgarian Internet radio not only in the Latin American country, but also on this continent called "My Bulgaria" - the voice of the Bulgarians in Argentina. Technical director of this media is Eng. Ivan Tsankov. The cooperation with the Bulgarian National Radio was crucial for the birth of the new information tool. The purpose of the new media is through the magic of modern technology to provide different information to the Bulgarian community in Argentina and by broadcasting specialized programs on important and useful topics, our compatriots feel closer to the Motherland. The Internet radio started with great interest in the broadcasts of cultural themes, interviews with prominent compatriots and, of course, much music - Bulgarian music from the rich creative treasury of our people. One of the first successes of the newly created radio was the interview that Ms. Aksinia Ivanova took from President Rosen Plevneliev during his visit to Argentina in 2016.

7/ Sustaining a media is not easy. What ways do you find to do so? Do you get help from the Bulgarian state?

The whole activity of our two media is the fruit of goodwill and personal time. We decided to dedicate ourselves to this because we considered it insulting in an emigrant country like Argentina, with representatives of all nationalities, countries with far less contribution to human history than Bulgaria to be spoken about and known, and for us - the Bulgarians, almost no one has heard.

Unfortunately, we have not received state support so far. We do all the work according to the capabilities of our organization. I am deeply convinced that with the help of the Bulgarian state our work to make Bulgaria more popular on this continent will be far more effective and fruitful. I do not mean just financial aid. We would also enjoy logistical support, or even the attention of the state, to show that what we do is worth it. Unfortunately, Bulgaria seems to have other priorities. 

8/ Which news are most read and listened by the Bulgarians?

The broadcasts of My Bulgaria internet radio are only in Spanish and are on cultural themes. Our first show was dedicated to the Christmas holidays. The heirs of Bulgarians here are very interested in such topics. Every Sunday from 11:00 to 12:00 local time we broadcast our programs. We have made special programs for Christmas, March 3, March 8, Easter, for name days - because here those are not celebrated and many other holidays from the Bulgarian calendar. We popularize special events and personalities from our rich national history. Of great interest are the broadcasts of popular compatriots - both living here and other countries, including their interviews. 

9/ Tell us is there a a Bulgarian school or schools? Are there other types of Bulgarian associations, clubs?

Unfortunately, there is no Bulgarian school in Argentina. In order to fill this gap, our organization started broadcasting courses in Bulgarian language through its internet radio "My Bulgaria". They are above all for those compatriots who, due to the nature of their place of residence or their work, can not attend courses. In Argentina, this problem is particularly acute. The distances in the Latin American country are enormous, and the large Bulgarian communities, consisting of heirs of Bulgarian emigrants who do not know Bulgarian, but who are eager to learn the language of their ancestors, are mostly in the remote provinces.

With this modern form of distance learning, the Civic Association "The Bulgarians in Argentina" aims to facilitate the study of our language and thus stimulate the interest in the native literature, history and traditions. And to contribute to the integration of the heirs of the Bulgarian emigrants in this part of the world towards the Bulgarian way of life and culture and the consolidation of their national self-consciousness.

The interest in the online language courses of the internet radio "My Bulgaria" is extremely high and at the request of listeners we broadcast them for the fourth time.


10/ Are there any local initiatives aimed at helping Bulgarians with business or those who are experts in some professional field? Or to Bulgarian students?

A major cultural event in the life of the Bulgarian community took place in the Argentine capital in December 2017. Civic Association "Bulgarians in Argentina", with the support of the government of the autonomous city of Buenos Aires and the corporation "Buenos Aires South", introduced the beauty and diversity of the Bulgarian identity to the Cultural Center "Adan Buenosaires". The exhibition "Discover Bulgaria" was presented, consisting of several sections in which its authors Aksinia Ivanova and Eng. Ivan Tsankov tried to reveal as thoroughly as possible the splendor of the Bulgarian national culture. At the center of the exhibition are 12 thematic panels, each of which reveals a certain aspect of Bulgaria - natural features, historical heritage, traditions and customs, celebrities, folklore, national cuisine, etc. The next section covers the household fabric, with the characteristic tablecloths and embroidery, amazed by the variety of motifs woven into them. In the section devoted to iconography there are icons from different schools presenting the canons of Orthodox Christian art. There is no lack of traditional ceramics, as one of the oldest artistic crafts in the Bulgarian lands. Impressive is the collection of various pyrographic wood products. But the culmination of the holiday was a show of national costumes from different folklore regions of Bulgaria. The attendees got acquainted with the original, colorful and exquisitely decorated costumes, which are an integral part of the richness of our culture and one of the things that made our people so special and different.

The celebration was attended by representatives of Argentinian institutions and organizations, as well as young people from different schools in Buenos Aires, attracted by our picturesque culture.

11/ How do you look at the idea of ​​creating a Bulgarian Global Network to help us wherever we are - for business, culture, education, events, local market consultations, information on the economic and cultural characteristics of the country etc.?

The idea is superb - with the help of modern technologies, the Bulgarians scattered around the world can join their efforts for any kind of creative activity. It would be great for such a network to develop and consolidate.

12/ Would you join the International Business Alliance as an expert - with your profession and also with a view to consulting people who would like to come to Argentina or are interested in cultural and business projects that they want to initiate there?

This is an interesting proposal. We would be glad to cooperate within our capabilities.

13/ How a particular story, event, initiative and etc. can be published in your media. What advice would you give to our readers to bring you attention?

Our organisation's address is:
Av. Soldado de la Frontera N 5455, 3º "D", Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires.
E-mail of the organisation: info@losbulgaros.com.ar, eng. Ivan Tsankov.

For us are always interesting to share:
- Information and / or pictures of cultural themes.
- Everything about Bulgaria and life in Bulgaria.

It is important to receive the news no less than a week before it is broadcast. The media attention can always be attracted in the first place by creating an effective message to the audience.

13/ Witch are your Top 3 expert advices for good media coverage in your country?

- The media should have a clear stance on what kind of audience it focuses on.

- Great responsibility for providing information - the public does not forgive careless activity.

- Always pay attention to feedback from the audience.

The entire gallery of pictures from the lives of the Bulgarians in Argentina can be viewed on the Elysium Business Magazine website.

Author: Aneta Nedyalkova

Photo credit: Aksinia and Ivan

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Categories: IBA Blog , Bulgarian Media Abroad

Tags: #Argentina #Bulgarian Media #abroad #news #events #culture #education #business

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