Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wooing El Salvador's expatriate community

The Washington Post has a story about El Salvador's Consul General in Washington, D.C., Ana Margarita Chavez, and the government's attempts to win the loyalty of Salvadorans living abroad:

Her approach dovetails with a wider charm offensive recently launched by Salvadoran President Elias Antonio Saca, of the pro-business ARENA party, to cement his support among Salvadoran expatriates.

The stakes are high. The Salvadoran government estimates that more than a fourth of the country's citizens live in the United States. The expatriates have been lobbying hard for the right to vote from abroad, and it is generally considered a matter of just a few years before they will get it. Even now, they are believed to exercise enormous sway over voters back home thanks to the estimated $3 billion they send their relatives annually.

During the presidential election in 2004, Saca and his opponent campaigned personally in the Washington area. And shortly after taking office, Saca expanded the foreign ministry to include a vice ministry exclusively dedicated to overseas Salvadorans.

The 16 consulates in the United States are the vice ministry's principal vehicle of operations. The Washington area is among its most important targets. The U.S. Census estimates there are 130,000 foreign-born Salvadorans in the Washington region. The embassy estimates the size of the local Salvadoran community -- including those born here of Salvadoran parents -- at half a million.(more)


Anonymous said...

"She really identifies with the working-class Salvadoran overseas."

Once a salvadoran always a salvadoran , I guess. Just a smile here and a smile there, and you win the hearts of minds of all of them. Just look at Casaca for the perfect example. But does the "working-class" community in the exterior ever wonder what a massive failure has ARENA's regime being... that the only reason people are not going to war is because of the life-line the remittances are? How every day hundreds of Salvadorans migrate to El Norte to further contribute to this remittances dependency problem, because there is no jobs, no future, no good life in El Salvador? Do they wonder how sickening is to have 10-12 murders a day (3000s for 2005, almost 4000 for 2006) all because of the regime's neglect? Almost a million of Salvadorans living abroad mantaining a collapsing country, and I imagine a third of them living illegally with the constant fear of being deported. And then what? No more money for their families, many of them who for starters decided to "invest" said much needed cash into a new tv, what is next? Return to El Salvador or try to remigrate?

Funny thing is that while ARENA engages on pandering to exiled community abroad, they keep on obstacling/refusing to allow said community have the right to vote.

wally said...

Why shouldn´t expats have the right to vote? I can vote in American elections from El Salvador, although it´s a hassle to do so. I´m still a U.S. citizen, and just because for a period of time I live outside that country I can´t understand the rationale for not being allowed to vote. Information about what is happening in my country is far to easy to obtain through the internet so keeping up with events back home is not hard to do. So should it be for Salvadorans living in the U.S. They can read La Prensa or Diario del Hoy for free every day. Let them vote.

innerself said...

the problem is not getting smaller nor solved. casaca and arena ARE a failure...the thing is, el salvador is too small of a country to sustain its numerous population...while the racist oligarchy blames the poor and mestizo masses for not being 'civilized' enough, we all know the oligarchy's govt. doesn't do much to 'civilize' its population. it is still foreseeable to one day see a united spanish speaking latin america...bolivar's and morazan's dream...but again, the rest of latin america fares pretty much the same way. UNITE CENTRAL AMERICA AND FEDERATE ALL OF SPANISH SPEAKING LATIN AMERICA, INCLUDING PUERTO RICO!!!