Remittances surge

Banking authorities in El Salvador report that remittances are running at a pace 12% higher than 2004 according to El Diario de Hoy . Remittances, which are funds sent by Salvadorans working in the US and elsewhere back to their families in El Salvador, are an enormously important part of El Salvador's economy. The money transfers are on a pace to reach $3 billion for the entire year. The report attributes the growth to a relatively low level of Hispanic unemployment in the US and a continued flow of emigration (legal and illegal) from El Salvador to the North.

Also appearing this week is a report that criminal networks are using family remittances as a way to launder money. US and Salvadoran authorities arrested a Panamanian accused of laundering as much as $2 million a month through a scheme which used family remittances to transfer money from the US.