About everybody knows about The Angel Falls in Venezuela, but who knows about the extraordinary Latvian man Aleksandrs Laime who was the first one who reached it on foot and mapped the river the famous Falls are on,naming it after our Latvian river Gauja? So the Rio Gauja in Venezuela was named. And Laime was also one of the men who measured the height of the famous falls which were considered to be the world’s highest ones, but nobody knew the exact height. I have just finished reading the book in Latvian about him, written by Andris Stavro “Aleksandrs Laime and His River of Gold”. I don’t know is there any book about him in English or Spanish? If there is, I would love to translate it in Latvian. I am translator of more than 20 years after all 🙂
But Laime isn’t the only noteworthy Latvian in South America. Only recently I got to know about Latvian mission in Bolivia “Rincon del Tigre”, who arrived already in 20-ties of XX century arrived from Latvia in Brasil, but later moved from there to Bolivia and made settlement and school there. Are tigers in Bolivia? :))) No. Obviously Bolivians call jaguars so.
There are also many Latvians in Venezuela who arrived there after the WWII as war prisoners who didn’t want to return to occupied Latvia about 700 people in total.. There are many distinguished people among them. Ernests Foldats, the orchids expert no 1, jānis Roze, the snake expert no 1, Janis Racenis, who did research on insects and become university principal, painter Alexander Taurins, Janis Petricheks, engineer in silvestry among them and others.
I also know that there is a big Latvian community in Brazil. I would love to know more about them. And maybe somebody know any other Latvian somewhere in the world who is worthy of attention? I would be really grateful to know about them.
In the long run it seems that Latvians really have some strange connection with this continent. Mind that Latvians are everywhere (don’t be scared that was only joke:) Latvians are really small nation – about 2 millions all and all. Isn’t it strange that they do better living outside Latvia?