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New $1,130 Fee Imposed on Migrants by El Salvador: Analysis and Context

El Salvador, under the administration of Nayib Bukele, has implemented a controversial measure in its migration policy. Since late October 2023, travelers from 57 countries, mainly from Africa and India, face a new fee of $1,130 when making air connections in El Salvador. This action arises in a context of pressures from the United States to control migration towards its southern border.

Who Are the Most Affected?

The majority of travelers subject to this fee are headed to Nicaragua, using Avianca airline. Nicaragua has become a key transit point for migrants from Haiti, Cuba, and various African countries, due to its less stringent visa requirements. This increase in migration flows is not due to natural disasters or political crises but is actively promoted by travel agencies and social networks.

Political Implications and U.S. Response

Although a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in El Salvador did not confirm if the fee was a request from the Biden administration, the political context is telling. Bukele, seeking reelection, faces criticism for his human rights record. El Salvador’s ability to help the U.S. control migration could have political benefits for him, at a time when his government needs international support.

These are the affected countries:

Angola, Argelia, Benín, Botsuana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Camerún, Centroáfrica (República), Comoras, Costa de Marfil, Chad, Egipto, Eritrea, Etiopía, Gabón, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea – Bissau, Guinea Ecuatorial, India, Kenia, Lesoto, Liberia, Libia, Madagascar, Malaui, Mali, Marruecos, Mauricio, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Níger, Nigeria, Ruanda, República del Congo, República Democrática del Congo, Sahara Occidental, Santo Tomé y Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leona, Somalia, Somalilandia, Sudáfrica (República), Sudán, Sudán del Sur, Suazilandia, Tanzania, Túnez, Togo, Uganda, Yibuti, Zambia y Zimbabue.

This fee not only represents a significant financial burden for migrants but also highlights the complex political and social dynamics surrounding migration in Central America. It is vital for migrants to be aware of these new regulations and consider their implications when planning their routes.

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