Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Mes Amigo

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 8th September, 2018

E6CE0DA0-89A7-4418-8025-11B68AB3B23BLast night I was at Drummonds, the royal bank in Charing Cross, for the launch of this year’s Mes Amigo or Amigo Month – London. Over the next five weeks there will be a cornucopia of cultural, religious and diplomatic events relating to the countries of Latin America, Spain, Portugal and lusophone Africa. Together, Spanish and Portuguese speakers make up what is probably the largest Diaspora community in the United Kingdom and several London districts have a particular Latin flavour, such as Vauxhall’s Litttle Portugal and the Colombian community of the Elephant and Castle. Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor of London for Social Cohesion, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, was one of the speakers at last night’s event, which also featured salsa dancers from Cali, contemporary dance and a Mexican group. Over the past decade, thanks to the tireless efforts of Peruvian journalist Isaac Bigio and a small team of associates, the Mes Amigo has grown into a significant operation. Most of the relevant countries have their national days during the five weeks of the “month” — it was Brazil;s yesterday — and numerous churches and social groups will be celebrating too. The organisers also keep an eye on more political issues, such as a campaign to protect a group of Latin American small businesses in North London threatened by redevelopment and the regularisation of the situation of undocumented immigrants. At election time there are always hustings for the community in which I have sometimes taken part.

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