Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Citizens of two countries

The Los Angeles Times has published a story about persons with dual citizenship, with a particular focus on Salvadorans who become US citizens but keep their citizenship back in El Salvador as well. The article starts with the story of one Southern Californian who has returned to El Salvador to enter local politics:

Salvador Gomez Gochez was 25 when he first came to Los Angeles with $3 in his pocket and painful memories of his Salvadoran homeland torn apart by repression and war.

Working his way up from a parking lot attendant to a manager, he learned English, bought a home, volunteered for a Salvadoran community organization and became a U.S. citizen, grateful to the country he says saved his life.

But Gomez Gochez, now 54, also retained his Salvadoran citizenship. Now, as a dual citizen, he has made the dramatic decision to return to his impoverished hometown in El Salvador and run for mayor after nearly three decades away. His hope: to revive his town's agricultural base with his U.S. contacts and empower the villagers with U.S. practices of participatory democracy.(more)

He's not the first to run for mayor this way. In 2006, a Virginia resident ran for mayor of Intipuca.

5 comments:

El-Visitador said...

«"America is the country that gave me the opportunity to be alive, and I'll be loyal to it until the end of my life," said Gomez Gochez in a phone interview from his home in Atiquizaya»

Sorry, but can a Salvadorean who no longer knows El Salvador is América be considered a Salvadorean anymore? Gringolandia is not, and can never be, America.

United States, US; whatever, dude. America is Cuba, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Colombia. The day you forget it, you are just another yanqui. Stay there, and don't mess with us.


- . -


"He also argues that dual citizens should be discouraged from voting in foreign elections"

Can't say I disagree with this other guy. If one does not pay Salvadorean taxes and does not live with the consequences of one's vote, one shouldn't be allowed to vote in El Salvador.

Carlos Navarro said...

I'm the same way of dual citizens we have in the scene Luis Reyes, another salvadorean that succeeded in the States and now is supporting the candidacy of Mauricio Funes through the Civic Movement Mauricio's Friends whose link is www.amigosdemauricio.com

Here you have EN ESPAÑOL a part of the interview he conceeded to Contrapunto, a pretty trustable website headed by the son of salvadorean slain poet Roque Dalton.

The link to the complete interview is this:

http://contrapunto.com.sv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=979&Itemid=124&ed=38

"Luis Reyes es uno de los empresarios salvadoreño-americanos que están integrados a un Movimiento Cívico llamado “Los Amigos de Mauricio Funes”, que apoyan al candidato presidencial del izquierdista Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN). Recién estuvo en San Salvador con otros 60 hombres y mujeres de empresas para intercambiar criterios e ideas acerca de los planes de lo que sería un gobierno de Funes.





En declaraciones dadas a la prensa los empresarios salvadoreño-americanos aseguraron tener confianza que El Salvador “cambiará” con un nuevo gobierno. “No hay que temerle al cambio; en Estados Unidos, como en cualquier democracia, los gobiernos pasan de un partido a otro sin problema”, decían.





“Aspiramos a que haya un cambio real. Queremos que se termine esta situación de desempleo, pobreza y violencia que se vive en El Salvador, que es causa de que nosotros también tengamos temor de invertir aquí. Eso tiene que cambiar”, finalizó Reyes".


BTW I'm also agree with Reyes because I consider the change is coming, a new project of hope has born with Mauricio and Salvador with el Frente.

Nace la esperanza... viene el cambio.

FMLN '09.

inner-self said...

visitador is dead wrong, salvadorans abroad, regardless of how long they've been away and if they have a dual citizenship should be allowed the right to vote in salvadoran elections. i don't know, but it turns out that those salvadorans abroad keep the artificial economy of el salvador from collapsing and sending the nation into a long term depressive bankruptcy. also, don't forget that most of the time those salvadorans living abroad have close family in el salvador, mainly wives and kids, so they do have something very important at the stakes in the life of the nation. i advise visitador to get real, to see things for what they really are and to come out of that dark closet of worn out political ideology turned out cliche.

Anonymous said...

www.mauriciofunestv.com

Anonymous said...

Mauricio Funes, a candidate for president in El Salvador, is gaining more recognition from the region's Salvadoran immigrants. (By Alfredo Duarte Pereira -- El Tiempo Latino)

Salvadorans See Promise in Candidate
Nota de Washington Post

Por N.C. Aizenman y Alejandro Lazo - 21/07/2008

For most of his life, Luis Reyes has had a dread of public speaking and a distrust of left-wing politicians from his native El Salvador.

Yet on a recent evening, the 48-year-old restaurant owner stepped nervously to a microphone in front of more than a hundred Salvadorans under a party tent behind his Northwest Washington home to introduce the new head of the leftist former guerrilla party, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.

Looking on with a smile was the man responsible for Reyes's change of heart: Mauricio Funes, whose recent nomination as the FMLN's candidate for El Salvador's March 2009 presidential election represents the party's best chance of winning the top job since it laid down arms in 1992.

Funes, a former journalist whose nonviolent past and embrace of centrist economic policies distinguishes him from previous FMLN frontmen, has been polling as much as 21 points ahead of the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party's candidate.

He is also proving to be the catalyst for a notable political awakening among the sizable Salvadoran immigrant business community in the United States, including dozens of influential entrepreneurs and professionals in the Washington area, where an estimated 133,000 Salvadoran-born residents make up the region's largest immigrant group. The Salvadoran Embassy said that if U.S.-born children of Salvadoran citizens are counted, about 1.7 million Salvadorans, or 20 percent of that nation's population, live in the United States, with about 500,000 in the Washington region.

Although many local Salvadoran businesspeople travel to their homeland several times a year and raise substantial sums to support schools and churches in their home towns, many have steered clear of Salvadoran politics until now.

"There just wasn't a single candidate from either side that appealed to us," Reyes said.

Their dissatisfaction with the right often stems from their formative years in El Salvador. Despite their current wealth, many were born to impoverished farm workers, received little schooling and achieved success in the United States only after years of hard work.

Reyes, for example, co-owns two popular District restaurants, Lauriol Plaza and Cactus Cantina, and has stocked his spacious house with original paintings and elegant colonial-style furniture. He fled El Salvador's violence and poverty as a teenager and got his start as a dishwasher. As a result, Reyes said, he still identifies with El Salvador's poorest class, and he worries that the conservative ARENA party is dominated by wealthy elites who are not sufficiently concerned with social justice.

"They haven't done anything to improve the country," Reyes said. "It's because of them that so many Salvadorans are forced to leave the country every day to find work."

Those who come from regions of El Salvador hardest hit by the civil war between leftist guerrillas and the military-backed government during the 1980s also tend to mistrust ARENA's military roots.

Jorge Granados, 53, a real estate investor who was one of the guests at Reyes's home, recalled how, during the height of the war, several classmates at a university in San Salvador were kidnapped and murdered merely on suspicion of harboring leftist sympathies.