Stranded Salvadoran: “I had to tell my children that they are in El Salvador, to break a piggy bank and grab that money”

photo VD: Courtesy @VaradoosSV
By Carmen Rodriguez, Washington DC

The situation of Salvadorans stranded around the world remains difficult. This weekend, while more than 72 days of forced exile, some chose to cross the border of El Salvador on foot.

But nevertheless, dozens of Salvadorans still in the United States, in some countries in Europe and in Mexico, they have no options or answers as to when they could return to the country.

The economic situation and the lack of resources to maintain themselves in other countries are the greatest concerns of these citizens, whom the Salvadoran Government continues to ignore..

Voice of Diaspora, had access to information and testimonies of several Salvadorans who are stranded in the United States, in Europe and in other countries. Many of these cases are about to run out of resources.

Staying in the United States, without being a resident or without having a job it is not easy. The budget to cover food expenses, Rent housing, transportation and access to the health system, can be around $1,000 and the $3,500 a month.

Among the stranded group, There are Salvadorans who came to the United States for work reasons, for a few days, and were affected by the closure of the El Salvador Airport, ordered by President Nayib Bukele, at the middle of March.

Some of these people, they do not have relatives in the city where they have been trapped and they have to pay for a place to spend the night daily.

On average, an Airbnb, offering rooms for a short time, can cost between $25 Y $30 per night. In some cases, relatives in El Salvador have provided financial support so that they can guarantee a safe space.

But the Varados SV group reports cases of Salvadorans who ran out of money, because they sent what little they had so that their children and other families could cope with the crisis that the country is also experiencing.

Access to the health system, is another issue that worries this group. The medical system in the United States is very expensive for a person who does not reside in the country, who do not have health insurance and cannot pay for a medical service.

A query, with a general practitioner it can cost between $80 Y $200 and the price of medicines that are not sold without a prescription, can also be very high. further, due to the situation some people have mental health problems.

These are some of the testimonies that the stranded Salvadorans shared:

“Nine months ago life hit me hard, with the death of my husband. I was alone with my three children. Six months after that disaster I started working to provide for my children and that's why I came here (U.S). I no longer have money, I sent everything I had so that my children have food and shelter in El Salvador, well the payments don't stop”.

“I have 47 days of being stranded with my two year old girl. We have run out of budget and spending in this country is too much. I spend approximately $200 a week in food, diapers and milk for the baby. We no longer know what to do with the situation, apart, my girl needs medical treatment that we don't have access to in this country”.

“We arrived in Florida, for five days, with my parents and my son. The day after arriving, the news was given that the airport was closing.. Be with my parents, both with chronic diseases, it's hard. It affects them tremendously, in your mood, uncertainty and also your hypertension and diabetes conditions. I've had a crisis with both”.

“I came under special circumstances because I had an accident a month before the trip. I have broken my leg, with the doctor's permission and for a short time I came to the United States. When I returned I was going to need surgery, to be able to walk again. I have not received any help from the Embassy, nor Chancellery, they only called me on the phone two months ago”.

“I requested accommodation at the Consulate, because where I was they wanted to charge me 70 euros per day. The consulate resolved me… it was a kind of hostel, in bad condition, dirty and sharing the flat with many people. I didn't want to share the flat with 10 unknown men”.

“We have businesses in El Salvador that we had to close from 18 of March. We had to cover our employees' payroll, without having any kind of income. We are contributing where we are, but we already exhausted the savings we had. I had to tell my children that they are in El Salvador, break a piggy bank they had and grab that money. My wife has had depression”.

“I had planned to stay ten days in the country. I had to buy winter clothes, I had to buy clothes for the heat. Health insurance does not cover pre-existing diseases and I had to go to the doctor. The medicine I take, costs more than $600. The expenses have been shocking for my economy”.