“Please, Help me back to El Salvador”

Among the Salvadorans stranded in Nicaragua, there are many children who are alone with one of their parents, away from his brothers and relatives.
By Luisa Moncada, Glen

More of 100 Salvadorans are stranded in Nicaragua, among them diabetics, hypertensive and some children. No one can return to their country, nor to their homes.

Now, away from their families, they fear catching COVID-19 in a country that is not yours.

"What, she's my daughter. My biggest fear is never to hug her again ”, Flor de Hernández says with eyes full of tears, as he shows an image of a smiling and happy young woman on the screen of his cell phone.

Flower, She is one of the Salvadorans who have been more than a month without being able to return to their homes.; well, President Nayib Bukele closed the Salvadoran borders, and he does not yet have a plan to repatriate his citizens and protect them while they are anxious to return to their land and be among those they love.

"We are rejected by our own people and we want to tell them that they must understand that nobody was looking for this situation. Many of us were in Nicaragua because here we were working and the quarantine decision caught us like this: working, not walking. We ask that you please have mercy on the people who are outside ”, explains the Salvadoran, who works for a distribution company of basic products from El Salvador in Nicaragua.

Flor ensures that at least 100 more Salvadorans are in the same situation as her. Four of them share a room with her in a small hotel in the city of Managua.

This Salvadoran mother, also says that from the 13 of March, date President Bukele ordered border closures, she and her team have been isolated, in self quarantine, and following the indications of the Salvadoran health protocol to the letter, hoping to return to his country soon.

These five Salvadorans stopped having contact with other people, six days before Nicaragua and El Salvador simultaneously confirmed their first case of covid-19; 25 days after being locked in the hotel, none have symptoms that can be associated with the new virus that has already made its mark worldwide.

But nevertheless, Flor is concerned about her health. And a lot, she is diabetic and her life depends on insulin, a hormone that came from your country, without health coverage and with money running low in their pockets, is days to run out. Her medical condition puts her in a higher risk position against the pandemic.

Flor shows the treatment on which her life depends. The woman needs regular medical checks and insulin daily. According to the World Health Organization, the elderly, diabetics and hypertensive, are risky candidates against COVID19.

“My biggest fear is that my baby will get sick”

Gabriela Salguero, is another Salvadoran affected by the closure measures taken in El Salvador, also found in Nicaragua.

While Flor counted her sorrows, Gabriela remained seated next to her, obviously concerned. He has a sad look and his eyes are red from crying so much at helplessness.

Gabriela usually travels to Nicaragua, during the week to buy shoes, which then resells in El Salvador and so, support your family. After the borders are closed, she was trapped and away from her children. As a consequence of this situation, his pressure increased, to such an extent that she now needs to be medicated.

"I ask the government to help me return, please, Help me back to El Salvador. Here I carry my baby with me, but I have my two older children in El Salvador. I sincerely ask the government of Nayib Bukele to help me return. My biggest fear is that my baby will get sick and not know what to do or where to go here ", says the woman, with a broken voice.

Part of the sanitation station at the entrance to the room that Flor shares with four other people, in a small hotel in the city of Managua.

Other cases

The cases are not few. Alejandro Ponce, He is another Salvadoran, of this group that feels expatriated by COVID19.

Before the measures adopted by the Salvadoran Government, that led to the closure of the borders, he - paradoxically- represented El Salvador at the International Festival of Solos and Duos, that was developing in Nicaragua.

Ponce asks President Bukele to "respect his constitutional right to return to his country" and also, He expresses that he feels annoyed that "we are constantly being identified as foci of infection, without them knowing at least of our current situation ”.

Like Flor and Gabriela, because of fear, he decided to isolate himself in quarantine and almost a month later, It does not have any symptoms associated with COVID19.

"I am afraid of catching it in a country where I have no right to medical support. I am a contributor to the health system of my country, It's my right", holds firm and worried the young man.

No response from the authorities

Salvadorans stranded in Nicaragua, they sought help with the Consulate of El Salvador in Managua. But nevertheless, since closing in your country, they expect an answer that never comes.

“We have been fighting for more than two weeks with the embassy of El Salvador in Nicaragua to help us out and they have only put obstacles in our way. We have gone down in groups to maritime borders because they were the only options they gave us and it turns out that they had not negotiated with the Nicaraguan authorities our departure”, says Alejandro.

And continues: “Even, we have been with this group in the sun for five hours waiting for arrangements, so after that, the representatives of the Embassy told us that if we went out by sea, they would prosecute us criminally! after they gave themselves the option… we have offered them help to manage transportation with some stranded colleagues who work for transportation companies and nothing ”, the Salvadoran pointed out.

While Flor adds: "Our feeling is that it seems that the government of El Salvador forgot about us, when almost all of us were working ”. The Salvadoran woman says that her stranded compatriots are aware of the situation in their country and are willing to pay their repatriation costs and even return in small groups., since their only interest is to go home.

No information

Regarding these complaints, Voice of the Diaspora communicated with the Salvadoran consul in Managua, Sara Martinez. But nevertheless, The official said that she was not authorized to give statements to the media..

All Salvadorans who are in this situation, they claim to be willing to comply with the ordered quarantine for those who returned to the country in the midst of the crisis.

“We just want to go and go to quarantine in my country but be able to get out of here ”, Gabriela said. To which Alexander replied: "I am the father of a baby and my wife is alone with her, I want to return, pass our quarantine and see them ”.

OPS: Nicaragua has inadequate prevention measures

At a press conference, developed in the last days, representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (OPS) showed their concern about "the inadequate prevention" that Nicaragua has , facing the health crisis.

"We have concerns about the lack of social distancing, the call for mass meetings, about the tests, the follow-up they give to those infected and the way cases are presented ”, said the director of PAHO, Carissa Etienne.

While in an interview with the Nicaraguan newspaper El Confidencial, the epidemiologist, Álvaro Ramírez, warned that after 20 days that the first case of COVID19 was reported in the Central American country, Contagions are expected to increase exponentially in the coming days.

But nevertheless, the government of Daniel Ortega, continues to refuse to close its borders and take preventive measures. Classes in schools are carried out normally and social distancing measures have not been ordered..

In his defense, the Government claims to have strict epidemiological surveillance at all border posts and community information and monitoring brigades in its territory.

Last Monday, at night, Flor sat up hopefully watching the Nayib Bukele national chain, broadcast in El Salvador. There, the president said that at least 4,500 Salvadorans are stranded around the world and that allowing them to return to the country would collapse the health system "in one day".

Hopes to return home soon, are lost for these salvadorans. "If I continue like this, I will be the news as the first Salvadoran woman forgotten by her own country", sentenced Flower.