U.S. Senators Urge Support for Free and Fair Elections in El Salvador

Senador Mark Warner. Foto: Archivo MLNews.

Senador Mark Warner. Foto: Archivo MLNews.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Friday, January 24.- In a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner urged the administration to help ensure that the February 2 presidential elections in El Salvador are free and fair.

“We write to encourage the Department of State and U.S. Embassy in San Salvador to take all appropriate efforts to ensure a free, fair and transparent vote,” the Senators said.

“Most importantly, the Department and the Obama Administration can support such an outcome by making clear that the U.S. government will work closely with any candidate who wins fair elections.”

The Senators and former Virginia governors also underlined an historic new opportunity in the upcoming elections – for the first time, Salvadorans living in the United States can participate.

“U.S.-based Salvadorans make enormous contributions to their homeland, providing almost 20 percent of El Salvador’s GDP through remittances to friends and loved ones,” the Senators noted.

“By participating in the elections, the Salvadoran-American community will be able to contribute to El Salvador’s democracy, as well as its development. … We should reduce the cost and difficulty of sending hard-earned savings to families in El Salvador, and channel them to sustainable, income-generating investments, including small businesses run by receiving families.”

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Full text of the letter follows:

January 24, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C.  20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The people of El Salvador will hold presidential elections February 2, 2014.  We write to encourage the Department of State and U.S. Embassy in San Salvador to take all appropriate efforts to ensure a free, fair and transparent vote.  Most importantly, the Department and the Obama Administration can support such an outcome by making clear that the U.S. government will work closely with any candidate who wins fair elections.

For the first time, Salvadorans residing in the United States will be allowed to vote by absentee ballot.  Already, U.S.-based Salvadorans make enormous contributions to their homeland, providing almost 20 percent of El Salvador’s GDP through remittances to friends and loved ones.  By participating in the elections, the Salvadoran-American community will be able to contribute to El Salvador’s democracy, as well as its development.  The U.S. government’s expressed commitment to working with the next president and the people of El Salvador, regardless of the electoral outcome, will encourage full use of the franchise in both the United States and El Salvador.

After the elections, we will look forward to the continued development of U.S.-Salvadoran ties, building on President Obama’s 2011 visit to El Salvador.  Among other promising initiatives, we welcome continued efforts to maximize the impact of remittances sent to El Salvador.  As much as possible, we should reduce the cost and difficulty of sending hard-earned savings to families in El Salvador, and channel them to sustainable, income-generating investments, including small businesses run by receiving families.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Tim Kaine
Mark Warner

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