The Thriving Greek Community of Panama (Video & Article)
THE THRIVING GREEK COMMUNITY OF PANAMA
Video and Article published by The Greek Reporter on 3 May 2019. Article authored by Tasos Kokkinidis.
Greeks are indeed everywhere, even in the tiny Central American nation of Panama. The Greek community there is small, but active and vibrant. A community of no more than one thousand souls has already made its mark on the economy, politics, gastronomy and culture of this beautiful, verdant country.
“A Greek is always a Greek wherever he goes,” says taxi driver Costa Gianareas who has lived in Panama for fifty-five years.
The first Greeks went to Panama in the late 1800’s, most lured by jobs related to the construction of the Canal. There were just a few families at the time, and they stuck together. As time went on, more Greek immigrants who originally had planned on settling in the United States decided to try out Panama, as the US was experiencing a financial depression at the time.
The Greek presence has been strengthened over the intervening decades as Greek shipping gradually conquered the world, and many shipowners chose to sail their vessels under the Panamanian flag.
The community has unquestionably made its mark, with the children and grandchildren of immigrants integrating and contributing to society, becoming lawyers, doctors, teachers and very successful businessmen.
“Whatever Greeks do, they do it more successfully when they live abroad,” says Fr. Nick Agoris, the priest of the ‘Iglesia Orthodoxa de Panama’. . .
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