El Salvador Refracted as US Hispanic Heritage

Almost three million Salvadorans live outside their national borders and the majority in the United States of America, this is mainly due to natural and social disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and the civil war that lasted 12 years and ended with the Agreements. of Peace in 1992. However, migration continues for various reasons.

The presence of the Salvadoran community in the United States is not only in the kitchens of the restaurants, or those who clean the offices, or build the houses and buildings, or take care of the children of others, there are also artists, as well as professionals in different disciplines and even in American politics, and many professors who educate American youth.

In other areas, El Salvador grows and produces high-quality coffee, consumed worldwide, and it is very likely that you have already enjoyed Salvadoran coffee in cafes or restaurants. Or that they are wearing a garment that has been made in that country.

El Salvador, despite its social violence, most of its inhabitants are peaceful, friendly, like coexistence and highly value the visit of foreigners, having as a rule to show the best of the country and its kindness. No one denies social violence as it happens in other countries and this deficiency is assumed to the extent that the cordiality and effort in which the visitor is safe and enjoys the country is duplicated.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Salvadoran migration settled in the area known as the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia), and the majority came from the eastern part of El Salvador, especially from the city of San Miguel, which was devastated by the war, but today it enjoys a thriving economy and where most of them have relatives living in the United States.

That is why the presence of the Salvadoran community is now significant: for the new generations that, although they were born in this country and speak native English, it is also true that in their homes they are inherited and required to speak Spanish, because for a Latin family language is the language of home, grandparents and love.

El Salvador has a rich history of artists, painters, writers and photographers, many of whom live in the Washington DC metropolitan area, such as Nicolás Shi, Muriel Hasbun, Vladimir Monge, Carlos Parada, Lilo Gonzalez, Carlos Rubén Ramírez and we even have the Casa de la Cultura El Salvador, under the direction of Jeannette Noltenius, who has been developing work to promote the best of El Salvador.

Since those years, businesses have been created and promoted by Salvadorans and now they are companies that generate employment and pay taxes. We are an active part of the economy of the United States of America. In summary, Salvadoran women and men see their work not only as subsistence but as their personal, family and national identity. And that is the distinctive mark of the Community that generates so much respect.

And yet, the heritage that we bring to this great nation, which has given us a second chance at life, are the multiple cultural, artistic, and aesthetic expressions produced by Salvadoran talents and spirits blended into the American canvas, but still and with above all, they do not lose the intense color of Salvadoran identity.

Note: The image “The Madonna of the Desert” painted by the young Salvadoran talent Rafael Rodríguez, is pregnant with symbolism: instead of the torch of the Statue of Liberty in New York, his open hand to greet immigrants, represented in the child she holds, because here we are all reborn. His mestizo features, with a green tunic of hope, in the middle of the desert, where shoes and empty water containers left by thousands on their journey can be seen. The blue and white sky recalls my Salvadoran sky.

Writer of the Salvadoran diaspora, Master in Hispano-American Literature from the PUCP.