The New York Times published a story on Friday about how Salvadorans living in the US get involved in the elections in their home country. After noting that both FMLN and ARENA supporters have campaigned in the US, the article explains why:
While Salvadorans who remain here can’t vote in their native country, they can call relatives and press them to vote for a favored candidate. That is what they are doing, Salvadorans here say, and perhaps the reason they do so with urgency and ardor is that homeland politics is not just a matter of sporting interest.
One of the major concerns among many Salvadorans in the United States is that the money they send home — $3.8 billion in 2008 — no longer goes as far because of inflation in El Salvador, which the C.I.A.’s World Factbook put at 8 percent for 2008. They worry about the declining earnings of Salvadoran farmers because of continental trade agreements, about distances relatives have to travel for clean water, about endemic corruption.
“There’s more of a crisis in El Salvador than there is here,” Daniel Navas, a 45-year-old construction worker in Port Chester and organizer of the Jan. 11 rally, said in an interview two weeks later.
The large number of Salvadorans here translates into a greater number of relatives back home to cajole.
Salvadorans living outside of El Salvador can vote in the elections only if they have a national identity card (DUI) and return to the country on election day to vote. There will be a voting center in San Salvador where they can cast their vote pursuant to a measure adopted last week by the National Assembly. This is expected to extend the right to vote to 39,000 Salvadorans living outside the country if they decide to return home on March 15.