Central America

CARECEN Delegation Observes Presidential Election in El Salvador

Remittances from Salvadorans in the US represent over US$3 billion per year, and therefore politics in El Salvador bear significant weight for the Salvadoran community in the United States, and for US-Salvadoran relations. In March, 2009, CARECEN joined efforts to monitor the historic election in El Salvador, in collaboration with other US based groups such as the SHARE Foundation (Salvadoran Humanitarian Assistance and Research), SALEF (Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Foundation), Salvadoran American National Association (SANA), and the Salvadoran American National Network (SANN). Observers in the delegation were officially recognized by the National Electoral Tribunal of El Salvador. The agenda included meeting with the US Embassy, accompanying get out the vote activities, and monitoring polling places on election day, March 15, 2009.

On election day, delegation members visited polling places in Santiago Texacuangos, Santo Tomas and the International Trade Center (Feria Internacional) in San Salvador, as well as Santa Ana, Morazán, La Union, and San Miguel. Throughout the day, exit polls indicated that the contending parties, ARENA (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) and FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front), were at 50-50. By late afternoon (around 3:00 p.m.) there were signs of a possible FMLN victory, despite considerable claims to the contrary by the opposition. After a tense day, the FMLN won the elections.

The FMLN and ARENA settled the long civil war in 1992 through negotiations and historic peace accords. Following upon 20 uninterrupted years in the executive, ARENA recognized defeat. President elect Mauricio Funes gave a powerful and inclusive victory speech calling on all Salvadorans to join in a new era of reconciliation.

Humanitarian Relief for Central America

CARECEN works with hometown associations and members of the community in the metropolitan area to improve conditions in Central American countries in the aftermath of natural disasters. In response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Stan on communities in El Salvador and Guatemala n 2005, CARECEN and a number of hometown associations organized a successful Radio-a-thon to raise funds in the Latino community for the victims of these disasters. CARECEN also worked with the Embassy of Honduras to raise funds to assist the victims of severe flooding in Honduras caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Donations delivered directly to the affected communities included:
$103,540 for El Salvador
$69,208 for Guatemala
$11,000 for Honduras