Salvadoran expats' role in the elections

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.


Anonymous said…
George Fulmore said…
Tim: Don't know if you are aware of it, but current radio ads in El Salvador are involving President Obama, with the FMLN saying that it is time for change in El Salvador, as it has been in the U.S., and Arena countering that FMLN is much more radical than Obama. The latter, of course, makes those of us who followed the U.S. Presidential campaign laugh, as the Republican hit squads repeatedly tried to make the case that Obama had "radical roots." Scare tactics did not work in the U.S. election. The bulk of people did not buy them. Arena is defensively looking for a rebuttal to the FMLN ads. Maybe another reader has more to add about this current event.
Anonymous said…
you are absolutely right george fulmore, the phenomena is called:
campaña sucia
the blog el trompudo has more info on it, though it goes to the extreme of becoming radical itself...although it offers some interesting observations and point of views.
you can look it up yourself, though, i'm afraid, it is only in spanish, with a heavy blend of salvadoran slang.
Anonymous said…
"There’s more of a crisis in El Salvador than there is here,” Daniel Navas, a 45-year-old construction worker in Port Chester"

This shows the disconnection and lack of understanding of the situation in El Salvador, by those living abroad, who probably cannot or do not visit el salvador regularly.

First,the crisis in the US is far more reaching than what is being felt in E.S. so far.

Maybe he meant that E.S. is poorer than the US. No discussion there.

But those who live abroad mostly have a distorted view of El Salvador. If it is not attributable to their past experiences in the war, it is due to their lack of physical contact by not going to ES with regularity.

And then there is the fact that if they send remittances, the recipients will always say that the crisis is awful and they need more remittances.

While they languish away in hammocks, with their new tennis shoes which they do not want to get dirty by working the land.

Any surprise that this guy is saying that the international economic crisis is worse in ES than in the US?
Hodad said…
yes, sad but true, not muck work due to remittances and how obese the city folk have become,
even closed typico restaurants for fast food crap
how sad at Ranchon in Metro

last A, you hit the clave en la cabeza
but folks are not that stupid, and those sayoing to the polls, undecided?
I was at gimnasio nacional for the locals
quite interesting
we will see, but Mauricio lack of English does not bode well, and yes even for me,
but he is the most educated
either way, change it will be and with Obamanos in USA , has to be
where are you?
Anonymous said…
About the parties using Obama's image for political motives... FMLN was the first one to use this tactic, trying to link Mauricio Funes with an obviously popular luminary (just for the record, this was well-before Obama was elected.

On the other hand, ARENA and the mainstream media (ARENA's affiliates) did not try to hide their allegiance and favoritism for McCain and the Republican party running editorials putting Obama's capacity, character into question. Short of making mockery of him.

Of course this wasn't all of FMLN's doing, because many people in here by ourselves tried to draw parallels between Obama-Funes (wits, charisma, eloquence, similar discourse-- that of bringing about change to societies in financial decline), and FMLN further cashed on this by trying to link Funes even more to Obama, showing sometimes his image on FMLN ads. Whilst ARENA has been trying to change its posture towards Obama, trying to save face.

Now, the question is, why FMLN resorted to this tactic in the first place? Because as one of the previous commentators said, this goes beyond merely cashing on Obama's popularity. It has to do with damage control. Because as was expected, ARENA has been trying to surgically connect at the hips FMLN with Chavez, and how an eventual victory of Funes spells the doom of US-El Salvador relations. So much has ARENA invested in this that they have even run ads and editorials trying to disparage and call any comparisons between Obama-Funes as hallucinations, this is order to give credence to their scare tacts, that for a smooth relationship between both countries, ARENA's victory is essential, nigh vital... or else El Salvadora capacity to sustain any lifeform runs the risk of total annihiliation.

Frankly, FMLN's move is born out of necessity to soften the impact of any eventual dirty campaigns and try to mitigate any brooding uncertainty of what a Funes victory would mean to the relationship between both countries, which as we know is of a great concern to more than half the population of the country.

Now, concerning El Salvador-US relationships, I think USA should do all that it can to stop being both the instigator of problems of El Salvador and eventual escape hatch. If I were Obama, I would make a public address towards El Salvador, ran on CNN or something, stating that no foreign political party has any right to use his image for political gains, and that USA's relationship with another country in this new era goes beyond mere political affiliations, and that all people that have the best interest of the planet and the human race at heart will count with the support of his administration--INCLUDING the FMLN. I would further go to study were 30 years of foreign aid has gone to El Salvador, freeze any further aid until this process is complete, and give an ultimatum to Saca-ARENA that the Millenium Funds run the risk of being withheld if a series of changes aren't enacted on El Salvador asap: such as the cessation of party control over goverment organs such as the Corte de Cuentas and the Tribunal Supremo Electoral.
Anonymous said…
Tim: I have read some of your posts but nowhere I see anything about the amounts of people arena 'supposedly' brought to El Salv. using buses. These people were from Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua and the intention was to get their votes for the Elections in January, using fake DUIs, (hence you have the FMLN wanting to verify DUIs and ARENA not allowing). Many civilians called the radios and the police to report these incidents, some people even stopped these buses themselves. I suggest you tune up to Radio cadena mi gente to hear what the real 'populo' is thinking. The rest of the media is, well you know (most of it) owned by the current president and friends.