My HeyDay

Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful


Five quick facts about El Salvador and some random thoughts...

1. It's good to be again at 90ºF / 32ºC. This has been my last winter.

2. Either you are a Real Madrid supporter or a Barça supporter, as I am. And there is no reconciliation between both worlds. The cab driver stopped talking to me, for 40 minutes, after noticing I was from Barça (he was madridista). On the other side, the border guy became a best friend forever of mine because of that, and I skipped paying the 10$ tourist fee.

3. As I noticed several times before in Washington, my Spanish is hard to understand for Salvadorans. The other way around also applies.

4. Classism is quite less obvious in El Salvador than in other Latin American countries, due in part to a national sense of equality, due in part to the racial blend of Europeans, Amerindians and Asians that Salvadorans usually are, regarding of the social class.

5. The national cuisine includes too much fried stuff to keep people reasonably fit. Pupusas are tasty and good, yeah, but for breakfast everyday, really? :)

I was talking to a recently graduated Salvadoran lawyer about the political situation: "If the FMLN (the exguerrilla leftist party) wins next week elections, it'll be fine. And I plan to go for grad school to Chicago, with a scholarship. But if they don't, or if the elections are so close that the ruling party (ARENA) uses fraud to remain in power, I'll stay to protect my family here and fight against the fraud". The right-wing ARENA party has been in power the last 22 years, since the end of the Salvadoran Civil War. Much of the country's current problems, corruption, nepotism and unhealthy policies are a direct responsibility of ARENA's management of the country. Using the phantom of communism, associated to the exguerrilla, they managed to stay in power for two decades, even if it is also true that their power has been fading especially since 2003. Now many Salvadorans look with envy to the integration process going on in Latin America under different umbrellas, either the ALBA alternative or the Southern Cone old experiment, and the prosperity they don't enjoy. Maquilas, either in the sweat-shop version or the higher standard glass-and-iron office for the middle class who is bilingual, are the skeleton of the Salvadoran economy, preventing workers from properly unionizing and keeping reasonable wages. And all this pressure cooker, just moderated by the constant emigration to the US, is fuelling the vote for the opposition party.

Many civic organizations, including the non-profit I am collaborating with, are really mobilized to get out the vote and ensure that there is a healthy transition in power, but the ruling party has been too long in power to leave it easily. Anyhow, I plan to attend a free concert of top Salvadoran pop bands, organized by Democracia y Desarrollo next weekend. The idea is to promote a conscious and meditated vote of the youngest, but obviously the indirect effect is to increase the vote for the change.

Good luck, FMLN!

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6 Responses to “Five quick facts about El Salvador and some random thoughts...”

  1. # Blogger Xavi Menós

    Guerrero, quina opinió tens del President Saca???? Realment és un tipo tan corrupte? Jo quan vaig estar a El Salvador la gent en parlava molt bé d'ell.. com a mínims els taxistes que em van portar :)  

  2. # Blogger Alex Guerrero

    La meva resposta curta seria: "Ves-hi a Madrid en 2003 i pregunta-li als taxistes què opinaven de l'Aznar". :)

    La meva resposta llarga es que Saca, i el seu partit els darrers 15 anys, han estat creant una societat molt desigualitaria, responent massa als interessos de la clase empresarial, sense adonar-s'hi que estaven cavant la seva tomba electoral. El sistema econòmic de la maquila, tot i que en una economia petita i oberta es molt bó per atraure capital forani a instal.lar-s'hi en aquestes àrees lliures d'impostos i de gran "flexibilitat laboral", et fica a una trampa-equilibri en el cual ja no pots treure cap profit d'aquestes negocis (no pots "taxarlos") i els efectes multiplicadors a la economia de tenir gent treballant allà són molt baixos perque els salaris són més baixos que a la resta de la economia. A sobre, aquestes fàbriques, call centers i proveidors d'altres serveis, sota el paraigua legal de 'maquiles', fan una competició injusta contra les empreses nacionals que treballen fora d'aquest regim (salaris més baixos, no impostos, etc). Es cert que gràcies a aixó, El Salvador, com tot Centreamèrica i Mèxic, estan més industrialitzats que Sudamèrica... pero si el teu objectiu es transformar la teva societat en els arrabals més turbis de Shanghai, keep trying. Pero si aspires a una societat diferent, molt més europea, xilena o canadenca, aquest equilibri es molt i molt nociu.

    I el règim econòmic actual és una consequència de les decisions d'ARENA els darrers anys. I no crec que el partit d'esquerres pugui canviar massa la situació. Sense coordinació regional, qualsevol moviment per incrementar la pressió fiscal o millorar les regulacions laborals de la maquila provocara la fugida d'aquestes al país veï. Per aixó les anomenen "golondrinas".  

  3. # Blogger ninest123
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