The question is as simple as ¿Why Venezuela and Canary Islands are still so close?
In the past, Venezuela and many other countries hosted thousands of canarian people who went to South America to try to make fortune. That’s why, Venezuela is usually named as the eighth island by the canarians. Nowadays, it’s the opposite. Canary Islands are now hosting many people from Venezuela. I would miss more.
It is a similar case with what happened in the 70-80’s between the Canary Islands and South Korea. With the fishing boom, thousands and thousands of korean peole -also my father- came to the fortunate islands searching for fortune and running away from the weakened korean economy after the separation of north and south in the 53. I remind you that Korea was considered the 2nd poorest country in the world.
My father was one of the first koreans to come to the island. In the 80’s there were about 10.000 koreans in Las Palmas.
I remember the korean community was so big that it had its own school, supermarkets, shops, videoclubs and even churches. Nowadays these places remain or better said subsist there, after the sudden departure of most of the members of the community when, for polithical reasons, the fishing business moved to Africa.
But we are still one thousand. La resistance, as I use to say. And among them, some kids of the golden age have grown up and travelled around the world. But it’s impossible for us not to want to come back to the Canaries, to live or at least for vacation. After so long time, we are spanish speaking korean people (canarian speaking, to be more precise). Korean people who when we travel home to our motherland to visit our relatives, we feel weird, different.
Koreans but canarians.
Surprisingly, and thanks to the collaboration among many korean and canarian institutions, it’s being boosted an increasing arrival of korean students who come to the island to learn spanish. One of the few Sejon Institutes (the institution to spread the korean culture around the world) in Spain is based in Las Palmas.
On the other hand, it seems that once again, there are more and more korean entrepreneurs who come to make business with canarian entrerprises as it is a strategic point to enter in Africa. Also many korean digital nomads come attracted by the best climate in the world.
The flame among both cultures is resurfacing from the ashes of the remaining embers.
To say more, last year, (and also recently this one), I was invited to join the Korea-Spain Ocean Forum to give some support in the organisation and also making a little present with some of my paintings from the korean side to the canarian institutions. A pleasure and a honor for me.
Recently was celebrated the 50th aniversary of the stablishment of the Korean Community in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria attracting many different personalities and representatives from very important korean enterprises. I had the chance to help in this historic milestone between South Korea and the Canary Islands, I had the chance to contribute my bit.
I wish my father, the real Mr. Moon, could have witnessed these moments.
Soon will be the 51rst anniversary. And it is now when I’m just asking myself… Will I be able to see the centenary? A toast for that. Kombe, my dear friends
“You will never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the coast”