I want to share this for anyone who is interested in the cultural and social background from the perspective of a native citizen form El Salvador about the Bitcoin City announcement.
My hometown is in a close city from the place where Bitcoin City is going to be built, which is called La Union, and my father works exactly there. I currently live in the capital city San Salvador and had to move here six years ago due to work.
The concentration of development in San Salvador, the rest of the country in oblivion
Well, you'll see, El Salvador is a very small country in territory but all the development is concentrated only and only in the capital city San Salvador and all the rest of the country has been abandoned basically since the country's foundation. That is one reason for my anger towards the old politicians and previous generations who did merely nothing to distribute richness and development equally along in the country and they forgot completely about all the other cities. As a result, logically all the young people has been migrating year after year to San Salvador, including me, who had to say good bye to our families and hometowns in order to get a better job to survive. And the thing is that those previous politicians forgot about the countryside and all the rest of the country due to corruption issues and lack of vision and lack of perspective. They weren't that smart, they weren't that savvy about the modern world, and this is an issue that still persists in our neighbor countries like Guatemala and Honduras.
So for us, having development in an area that is not the capital city is a big, or a huge improvement. As I said when I started, this country is really small in territory, you can cross it entirely in just six ours! And it would be even less if our transportation system gets improved. In my hometown we have cultural differences in holidays, food, traditions, and beliefs, this is a very rich country when it's about culture, in fact, among the citizens, it feels like we have two countries inside: the west and the east. In the West we have San Miguel (my homecity) and La Union, which is known for being close to the sea. La Union is known for being really hot, tropical place, you have warm wind during summer and is perfect for going to the beach, which is like 15 minutes far.
We live in a bubble.
When it's about the contact with foreigners, it is very uncommon thing for the average Salvadorian. Salvadorans usually see foreign people like people who do not like to visit us because we think ourselves that our country is so bad that no one wants to visit, and even less to live here. And many times we tend to question visitors about why they visit us if they could be "better" in their countries. It has happened many times. I've met people from all around the globe here, from China, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, France, Colombia, the US, Russia, Egypt, Mexico, Sweden, etc. Some of them have years living here that they got to become residents and all of them have told me that at some point they get asked "what are you doing here?" meaning "you could get back to live better in Sweden (or any country where you lived before)", but they also tell me that Salvadorans are highly friendly with them, gain confidence and trust really fast, they are warm and welcoming and overall very human. Salvadorans help you if you're in problem, even if they don't know who you are, they talk to you and try to make friends very fast, so once you get into their circle they'll teach you everything you need to know.
But there is something else that I want to mention. This is nothing new in the world tho, we also have it. Many foreigners here in El Salvador live in separated areas, it is not seen like that but yeah, in fact, there are residential building where no regular Salvadorans have access (just th eeople who work in cleaning and maintenance stuff). Those foreigners may have another version of El Salvador, another very different where they don't get much contact with locals, and have no touch of how is our culture and our average day to day reality. These residential areas have been accommodated to provide all their needs and there is no need for them to go out. In the present days still more of there residential areas are being built, there is even one huge building in La Escalon, in Sal Salvador, which is an area known for being built for rich people to live in. But in the recent years this rich people have been moving to another area called Santa Elena, and the La Escalon is being left for regular people little by little. If Bitcoin City is going to be like this, it's ok I think, because we already have areas like that, but as a Salvadoran, my wish is to have development in the whole country and not only for a little bunch of people like it was in the past. And we already know about that. Fortunately we've seen it's not going to be the case.
Gangs. Buses and transport.
There used to be gangs at my city when I lived there. I was robbed in a bus six times, they robbed me my phone and money. And around my house around two people a year used to be murdered. I saw death people and blood. As a local, they do nothing to you because they know you. Gangsters are the same people who used to be our friends in school, but one day they joined the gang because they had no money, no job, no opportunities and weren't able to leave the country (remember when I told you in the beginning that the whole country was forgotten with no development and nothing else than misery). They manage to survive, unfortunately in the wrong way. I remember the day I decided I ws going to fight for my life, but not in that way! I decided to never enter a gang, I decided that I was going to be different. So how have we reduced gang activity in the last two years? 1. the government is giving opportunities to young people (I myself was in a help program, learning how to put my own business). 2. The government cut the economic help that previous corrupt governments gave to them. 3. The police force was heavily increased and supported them with new equipment and improved salaries
Also, young people now have different facilities where they can learn about technology, or another areas like making food, learn languages, and leverage other skills. Nowadays there are no murders in my home city and fortunately we don't have to think much about that.
About transportation, it has been a huge, huge issue all our life. Basically the owners of the transportation system are also a corrupt group who have the monopoly of transportation and have a horrible transportation system. That is the reason why the best way to go to another side of the city is to have a car. The current government has announced to be working in extreme measures to eradicate this problem. The main transport medium for the average Salvadoran is bus and if you live here and go downtown on a Monday at 5PM you'll be able to see the busses extremely filled with people like sardines in a can (which reminds me the Japanese metro system that also is like that). So, historically, these buses have been the areas where many murders and assaults have occurred, due to its importance for the work of people and its importance for the whole country, the gangs have taken them several times in our history, perpetrating once one of the worst terrorist attacks of our country, when they burned a whole bus full of people. In our collective history, it is in the mind of every Salvadoran and that is the reason why every Salvadoran has a deep fear of our transportation system even tho we have to use it every day if we want to go to work or move around the city. We just learned to live with that fear, I am not rich, and I am young, my current job barely gives me food for the month and I can't afford a car. We have a big hope in the current government, which has proven that they listen to the citizens concerns and most important needs and that is the reason for their success, that is the reason why left them approve the Bitcoin law, because even we didn't know what bitcoin was, they have done a work that is so good that we trusted them blindly when they announced it, we just thought "they have done a good job until now, this bitcoin thing must be something good also". Some few detractors that are here and there don't understand none of this, and they think that is because Nayib wears a cap and says nice things, but actually, we, the average people have been able to see the results of their work as a team, not just Nayib but all the people who works in these projects. Those detractors, a fewer number of them have so much money that they pay people to spread fake news all over the world and over the web. They used to pay politicians and powerful people to do whatever they wanted, but with Nayib on the head they aren't able to do that. That's why they are angry. And soem people who are detractors and tell you about recent murdering stories, if you ask them how they know about it you realize that it is the story of a friend of a friend of a friend who saw something in Instagram of Facebook. Yes, still there are murders, but not in our face, people now go out and enjoy the day, they fill the parks with their families and friends, even these friends who told me these recent murder stories, they go camping.
We need talent.
We have so many good programmers that work for companies overseas, one of my closest friends is one of them. We have many people who can speak English like me, and other languages (I learned Japanese in order to get a job), because of that need to survive we learned all of there things because we became experts in telecommunications and remote work even before the pandemic, with call centers. That is the reason why many of the call center services in the world are located here. I live some minutes to one of these places, they have thousands of people working here in that type of job and almost all of the roommates who I have lived with speak English everyday in their jobs and some of them also French. But due to the reason that all the development is in the capital city, all of us have moved here! Even young people in the most distant towns learn English with the only hope that it will take them out of poverty. Call center is offered here as the only alternative to have a job. And it is better paid than doctors or engineers. But it has a vary dark side. It is just labor exploitation. The bosses make them work in insane non human timeframe schedules with no chance to go to the bathroom or eat in many cases. Sometimes they have lunch but it is a very short timeframe and they have so many over-stress problems to the point where almost all of their workers have stomach problems and mental health issues. it is common in those buildings to have stories about workers who committed suicide or just died from heart attacks and the company doesn't care about them. I was trapped in one of these places and thanks to them I improved my English but thanks to internet jobs, NFT gaming and crypto earnings me and some of my friends were able to leave that f***g slavery behind.
I still think we need more talent. it is yet not enough to compete with the US or Japan, much or our own talent moved to these countries in the previous decades and it is understandable because we were living in hell over here. But now our challenge is to bring talent over here and improve more and more the living conditions for them. We still have a lot of beautiful nature, short travel times (the country itself is small), rich culture, delicious food, friendly people! But the government has been working in lowering those crime rates, building a lot of bridges, improving infrastructure like freeways, streets, the water system, transportation, building a new airport and improving the one we already have, building new hospitals and they have a huge new school system plan, they made a new new born program from all the new babies that come to life here to come in better conditions and the president and his team themselves were in 2019 overseas looking for opportunities telling investors and other governments that we exist. Bitcoin was just one of these things at that time, that we had no idea was going to put us in the eye of people (as good or bad). There is so much that we want to do and to little people, that we do what we can at a time.
So, the Bitcoin City is going to be built in the middle of all of this. And our hopes are on it. A city takes several years to be built but we are working in order to make it a true reality.
Thanks for the people who have read until here. The topic is still related to Bitcoin as I've spoken about all the things that the future citizens who move to the country may ask or be concerned about.