Salvadoran Electors Residing in Belize Travel Again to El Salvador for a Second Round; Results not Clear Yet
On Friday 31st January, five buses left Belmopan en route for Salvador. On board were some 200 Salvadoran-Belizeans who were going home to El Salvador to cast their vote in the Presidential elections.
The group encountered some problems with the Media and the Police but were able to cast their vote in the elections of February 2nd which led to a presidential run-off between the now country’s vice president and candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a former rebel commander for Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, and conservative candidate Norman Quijano of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).
El Salvador’s presidential runoff was held this Monday, March 10th, and for this election the buses returned to Belize, this time parked outside of Belmopan at WESTAR Gas Station in Roaring Creek, to avoid news cameras.
However, PlusNews was called out to Roaring Creek where we found 5 buses again, parked and loading passengers for the trip to El Salvador.
(As said in Spanish)
“El problema que tuvimos la vez pasada fue de que nos organizamos aca para hacer un viaje para El Salvador para las elecciones. Viajamos a El Salvador donde nos encontramos con un problema porque estaban pensando de que eramos netamente Belicenos; que no eramos personas Salvadorenas. Pero demostramos que somos netamente salvadorenos; todos viajamos con nuestros documentos en regla. Vamos a una segunda ronda porque la cuestion de que en El Salvador, es muy diferente que aca en Belice: En El Salvador se gana el 50 +1. Entonces, en esta oportunidad, nos organizamos nuevamente para ir a emitir nuestro voto”.
(Interpreted to English)
“The problem we had last time was that we got organized to make a trip to El Salvador for the elections. We traveled en route to El Salvador where we had a problem because they thought that we were completely Belizeans and not Salvadorans. But we demonstrated that we are entirely Salvadorans. We are traveling with our due documents in order. We are heading towards a second round because in El Salvador, the modus operandi of elections is very different from that of here in Belize, which is 50 + 1. Hence, in this opportunity, we organized ourselves again to go to cast our vote”.
Monday’s election results are out and it ended in a near tie with El Salvador Salvador Sanchez Ceren edging out the actual mayor of San Salvador Quijano by only 6,634 votes, 50.11 percent to 49.89 percent.
ARENA’s Quijano has demanded a ballot by ballot re-count after warning that El Salvador’s military was “aware of the fraud that is being perpetrated.” But he pledges to respect the results of the manual count.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal has ordered that neither party should declare itself the winner as a manual count is expected to be completed, possibly not before Wednesday.
Forty percent of El Salvador’s six million people live in poverty, and the country relies heavily on about 4 billion USD of annual remittances sent by Salvadorans living abroad.