From coyote to leading mayoral candidate
"Coyote" or immigrant smuggler is a dirty word in the US. But things are more ambiguous in El Salvador, where a former coyote is a leading candidate for mayor in one municipality. The AP runs a story about Narciso Chicho Ramirez, a man formerly involved in immigrant smuggling who may be mayor of Cara Sucia and other villages in western El Salvador after this Sunday's elections:
I saw it as helping people who most need it," said Ramirez, a 44-year-old rancher who owns construction and bus companies as well as restaurants and hardware stores. Ramirez says his ties to people-smuggling make him the perfect candidate to lead a group of 10 small rural towns 60 miles west of the capital, San Salvador. They include Cara Sucia, a village of 5,000 whose name means "dirty face." It's a district where nearly everyone heads to the United States to work at some point, and where four bank branches mostly handle money the migrants send home. Recent polls make Ramirez the favorite in next Sunday's election....
"Coyotes are very popular because the safest way to arrive in the United States is with a good coyote. He'll charge a good amount of money, but the person will arrive safely," he added.