Intergroup Relations and Group Maintenance

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Salvadoreans/Lisa Kowalchuk

Impressionistic information about relations between Salvadoreans and other Latin American immigrants in Canada suggests that politics play both a unifying and a divisive role, depending on the group. Contacts between Salvadoreans and Nicaraguans are often cool. Occasionally the two groups have even clashed in situations where they have interacted, for example, in parishes where they participate with other Latin Americans in planning church activities. These conflicts result mainly from a collision between the propoor, leftist orientation of most Salvadoreans and the anti-socialist stance of most Nicaraguans in Canada, seen in their rejection of the Sandinista government in the homeland. Conversely, political affinities make for friendlier relations between Salvadoreans and Guatemalan and Chilean immigrants, since all three groups fled right-wing dictatorships. Some activists in Salvadorean cultural and political associations in Canada support activities organized by the Chilean community and vice versa.

The Salvadorean community in Canada is a recent one, and it has been concerned primarily with adapting to the new society. No research has yet been done that would determine the degree of ethnic commitment among its members. However, the extent of support for causes in the homeland and the cultural activities carried out in Canada suggest that Salvadoreans are endeavouring to preserve a distinct identity.