Monday, August 13, 2007

Remittances from US still growing

The US may be tightening control over its borders, more Salvadorans than ever may have been deported back to the country from the US, and the US economy and job growth may be slowing, but remittances sent back to family members in El Salvador just keep on growing. El Salvador's Central Reserve Bank just reported that in the first half of 2007, remittances totaled $1.82 billion dollars. In June alone, remittances totaled $383 million compared to only $277 million in June 2006. The Central Reserve Bank projects that the total for all of 2007 will close approximately 10-15% higher than the prior year. At that level, El Salvador's remittance income from exporting its people, could equal or exceed the income of $3.5 billion the country received from all exports of goods and services.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Equally the cartel of cocaine that keep those bank figures high.

Anonymous said...

Considering the employment or rather lack of employment situation in El Salvador, how else are the people to survive?

inner-self said...

all the facts are no secret and they shouldn't surprise anyone. what i'm really wondering, however, is where all this money finally ends up, that's a large sum of money, do you know if at least some of those remittances are being saved?

Anonymous said...

People use the remittance money to purchase basic necessities: food, medicine, pay for their kids school, but also may use them to build a new house or add an addition on to an existing one. Maybe they open a small business out of their home or some other location. Some times communities organize and pool the money for a development project. Some people purchase consumer goods: electronics, appliances, etc. Remember also that maybe 10-15% of each remittance sent goes to Western Union or another wire transfer business or a bank. Lots of money for these folks.

ProudTexasWoman said...

There's a recent book (in Spanish) by Equipo Maíz called El Salvador: emigración y remesas - alivio de los pobres, negocio de los ricos, published in 2006. I picked it up recently while in the country with my husband (speaking of which, if Tim or others are interested, I am trying to write up the trip on my blog and have included pictures).

Back to the book: It discusses the origins and downsides of the remittance economy, including the different ways that banks and other commercial interests benefit from remittances and the trade agreements at the expense of those in poverty. It's a well-written analysis, with cartoon-style illustrations, plenty of white space, and deliberate use of language that doesn't require a high reading level. The cooperative that wrote the book specializes in this sort of writing, intended for ordinary people to be able to grasp issues and get involved.

My one complaint -- and I sent them an e-mail about this just last night -- is that the book doesn't offer any ideas or even questions to get people started on changing the situation. I don't mean that they either should be Pollyannas and pretend it's just a question of deciding to give up remittances or vote in the next election, or that they should spoon-feed people "the" answers ... that's not in the spirit of transformative education that they're trying to honor. But the book as is, doesn't offer much hope, and I have to believe there's something people can do.