Monday, February 27, 2006

Time for Washington to Show Its Appreciation to El Salvador

Washington must demonstrate to [El Salvador's] President Saca that the special relationship between the two countries is something more than rhetorical.

This week, President Elias Antonio Saca begins a trip to the United States from which he hopes to return with some guarantee of the entry into force of the Free Trade Accord (CAFTA) with this country, and with some sign of hope for the normalization of the migratory status of our countrymen.

El Salvador has a privileged relationship with the United States, in part for our practically unconditional alliance with Washington's foreign policy, and in part due to the enormous importance of the thousands of Salvadorians that send home almost $3 billion a year in payments, which are so vital to our national economy.

However, the Bush Administration must somehow acknowledge this special relationship with El Salvador. We are the only Latin American country that still has troops in Iraq, and which is held up as an example by the North American Administration in the anti-terror alliance. But beyond this rhetoric, Salvadorians would like the satisfaction of seeing that the sacrifices of our solders in that Arab nation are worthwhile, by having the U.S. guarantee funding for the Millennium Challenge Account for vital development projects.

[Editor's Note: The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was introduced by President Bush in 2002, and seeks to 'Reward Good Policy' and 'Reduce Poverty' through 'Economic Growth.' [RealVideo].

The immigration issue is vital to nearly a quarter million of our countrymen [living there], and the members of their families who remain here. By extending the Statute of Temporary Protection, (known by its initials in English as TPS), will be an indication that we really are a special ally of the United States, and not only a name to be mentioned in their speeches. We are aware of the complications that immigration entails in domestic North American politics, but El Salvador doesn’t have the means to absorb the number of deported people a cancellation of the TPS would bring.

Putting CAFTA into practice must not be delayed any longer. El Salvador has an advantage over the rest of the region, thanks to the private business sector and the government, which has taken serious action and applied itself to reforming its laws and establishing agricultural standards, which is vital to furthering commercial compatibility.

Yes we need to support our allies on the GWOT. Although it may be hard to grant TPS to their countrymen and not extend the same to the other countries involved, it should be something to consider.

It is hard for a country to limit its citizens from leaving. Build a wall to keep them in as prisoners. So I don't blame Mexico for causing our immigration problems with their citizens. But I can blame them for when they assist or turn a blind eye to the situation. They know perfectly well who the Coyotes are and support their efforts. Also the comic book on how to cross the border.

I can also blame Mexico for not protecting their border from crossings and then the OTM (other than Mexicans) must be paid for by the US to send back to their country of origin.

But we should be helping our allies and enforce the CAFTA rules, and maybe a special gift worker program for consideration in their help.


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