San Salvador. Since El Salvador adopted the US dollar as legal tender in 2001, and more recently as a result of an unprecedented security environment, thousands of foreigners have come here seeking job opportunities, most of them from Central America and less Colombian measure.
The local press calls this phenomenon with a certain irony: “The Salvadoran dream”, since hundreds of Salvadorans migrate daily to other latitudes, particularly to the United States in search of the “American dream” that sometimes turns into a nightmare.
According to organizations and academic centers linked to the migration issue, it is not possible to identify the number of foreigners working in the national territory (due to the same irregularity), but they do agree that there are thousands and that the majority come from the neighboring republics of Guatemala. Honduras and Nicaragua.
Those countries, including El Salvador, are subscribers to the CA-4 Agreement that allows their citizens to enter any of the nations just by showing their identity document. And although the permit is for 72 hours when they decide to return to their places of origin, they do so through any of the 150 “blind spots” located along the borders.
The aforementioned organizations have also established that although Central Americans are scattered throughout the territory, the majority are concentrated in the eastern part of the country, particularly in the cities of La Unión, San Miguel, Santa Rosa de Lima, Pasaquina and Jocoro.
In this area they are engaged in permanent and temporary agricultural work, domestic service, construction and sometimes
in the industry, facing, according to the International Organization for Migration (OIM/UN), “inadequate working conditions, even paid below the minimum wage.”
IT IS DIFFICULT FOR COLOMBIAN IMMIGRANTS TO CONQUER THE SALVADORAN DREAM.
In the last three years, hundreds of Colombians have also arrived in the country attracted by the dollar and also by the unprecedented security environment generated by the government’s fight against gangs.
However, according to the authorities, the South Americans, in addition to living in irregular migratory conditions, engaged in illegal activities related to drug trafficking in their country.
According to the Ministry of Security, Gustavo Villatoro, more than 400 Colombians lent money to small merchants at an interest rate of 20 percent, under the “drop by drop” method, with the seriousness that when clients fell behind in payments They were subject to serious threats.
The Prosecutor’s Office, for its part, reported that it received more than 3,000 complaints for scams committed by South Americans.
Thus, Minister Villatoro publicly asked Colombians to leave the country voluntarily within a period of 72 hours. President Nayib Bukele himself warned them: “… Get out of our country quickly.”
Villatoro later announced that 280 Colombians voluntarily left El Salvador, while the Attorney General’s Office reported that it had detained 110.
“It is an international criminal organization, in South America and Colombia it is known as Gota a Gota (which) was born from the excess liquidity that (the) drug cartels had,” Villatoro said. He then revealed that from 2021 to date, Colombians have sent more than 20 million dollars to their country.
But this is not the only anomalous situation in which Colombian citizens were involved. At the end of April, the controversial case of two young men detained on the outskirts of this capital within the framework of the emergency regime promoted by the government to combat gangs became known.
In a video recorded in the streets of El Salvador, one of the young men, José Antonio Potes, downplayed his arrest, however, upon returning to Colombia with the help of the Foreign Ministry, he assured that he was forced to record the video. mentioned. . and he confirmed that he was in prison for at least three months.
All this, in a context in which the presidents of El Salvador and Colombia, Nayib Bukele and Gustavo Petro, accused each other of not respecting human rights or democracy.