When you walk through the so-called United Colonies, in the south of Paraguay, you quickly realize that something is changing.
Containers with the belongings of those who hope to start a new life rest on various lands. In others, what will be those new homes are already being built.
It is the clearest evidence of new wave of european immigrants that this area is receiving, located next to the Paraná River, where some 45,000 people live divided into three municipalities: Honenau, Obligado and Bella Vista.
Locals say that this wave started about three years ago. However, it was in recent months that a noticeable jump was recorded.
Most of those who arrive come from Germanybut there are also Austrians and Russians.
Why does this phenomenon occur? Hundreds of German immigrants arrived in just six months.
“At the beginning we supported the anticovid measures, but the continuous restrictions left us perplexed,” said the Hausen family, who arrived in November 2001 from Nuremberg, to BBC Mundo.
“We had decided to leave earlier, but that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” they said.
“I think there is a lot to say, from education in schools, what our children learn, what happens with health, these are the two main problems. We are explicitly told what to do,” they added.
“A lot of people talk about vaccination, but that was not a big reason for me. I wanted to have a blue sky, without so many cloudy days, without so much rain. I wanted a warm climate, to be able to do things outside”, says an architect who lived in Stuttgart, who planned to create a new colony of Germans and, since he could not find anyone who wanted to go to Paraguay, he moved alone.
“Also, taxes are a problem,” he added. “In Germany we are the country with the most taxes in the world, but the money does not go to the people who have lived there for a long time.”
The new migrants were generally well received, but there is concern around the Covid issue. “There are many people concerned about the cost, about the pandemic, they would not like to live and work with people who have a different vision with this. They come to a place where there is legislation, and there are restrictions. It is thought that in Paraguay the legislation can be ignored, but no,” said Enrique Hahn, mayor of Hohenau.