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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Emigrants and entrepreneurs: Italians in Venezuela

di Giuseppe D'Angelo
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 18 (2005), p. 93

Italians in Venezuela is a particular case in the history of Italian emigration because they went there only after the second world war, but it’s different from other migrations because the Italians didn’t find there a complex society. In Venezuela the Italians were able to do their job (bricklayer, cook, tailor, trader in Italian foods, but, above all, shoemaker); they lived in the biggest cities of the country; very quickly they became part of the local society and improved their social and economic conditions; they became entrepreneurs. For many years the president of the Venezuelan Shoes Producers Association was an Italian immigrate, perhaps the same person in Italy was a simple shoemaker. The Spanish term to indicate all Italian immigrates is therefore “zapatero”. The wish to earn money and to come back in Italy in few years drove them to work a lot; much more than a local: many hours a day all year round. Not always they were able come back; more often they continued to live there and their economic condition grew and the whole Italian immigration undertook a very important role in the Venezuelan economy and society.