L'immigration latino-américaine en Guyane : de la départementalisation (1946) à nos jours

Abstract : During Colonization, the colonizing country did not hesitate to populate French Guyana. The various populations who migrated there, following numerous attempts to populate and develop the country were eventually wiped out by epidemics and horrid living conditions. These extreme conditions eventually earned the region the nickname ‘The Green Hell’. However with the regime of departmentalization in 1946, French Guyana witnessed a sanitary and social revolution which greatly improved the living conditions and brought the region up to a level comparable with the metropolitan regions. Following this reform there was a great demographic growth encouraged by a policy open to migration. This new migration influenced all socio-cultural domains of life in the department right down to the authentic French Guyana identity. In spite of this growth, the need for an exterior labor force remained necessary for the development of the country: construction of the Space exploration base in 1965, great development of urban French Guyana, agriculture, etc. The success of the Space exploration program, the social security system, increased salaries, the richness of the soil and the improved living conditions put French Guyana in the spotlight and attracted a number of citizens from neighboring countries. Many of these new immigrants were fleeing their own countries, currently amidst social turmoil, intense poverty or even Civil War. The degree of desperation was such that in 1982 the number of immigrants surpassed the number of people born in French Guyana and provoked their resistance, imploring the government for a restrictive migration policy that would even employ expulsion. Stigmatizing these immigrant populations, the people of French Guyana began to blame all the ills of society on these new masses: illness and epidemics, unemployment, delinquency, drug abuse, lack of scholarity amongst children, poverty, the development shanty towns etc. All of these afflictions brought the living standard closer to those of the surrounding regions and the poorest of neighboring countries
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Camille Bechet. L'immigration latino-américaine en Guyane : de la départementalisation (1946) à nos jours. Histoire. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30014⟩. ⟨tel-00739458⟩

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