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Isabel Ferrufino, El Salvador, ESOL Writing IV

El Salvador is recognized for many things, such as tourism, beautiful landscapes, beaches, volcanoes, and handicrafts. It is well known for the famous traditional food called pupusas. Additionally, El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but it has a large population. However, not everything is perfect in this beautiful country. There is something that people undoubtedly would like to change in order to be able to live without fear because of gang violence.

People in El Salvador are hardworking, brave dreamers. Despite all that, having a normal life in El Salvador is a dream rather than reality. People dream of living in a nice, safe place, meeting good people, being able to work to provide for their family, and getting an education. Unfortunately, there is no hope for their guaranteed protection and the possibility of a safe future because they are faced with the sad reality of gang violence.

In El Salvador, being young is like a crime because they are a target for gangs. Young people between 15 and 25 years old are taking a major risk. When gangs start with a mix of intimidation and enticement to recruit them, there is no option to escape. The gangs offer many things to lure young people, such as money, drugs, and power. If they refuse to join, they are not safe anymore. Because of that, young people do not have the freedom to dream of being a professional because they are afraid, and they stop going to school.

Living in El Salvador means adapting and resisting. That is the way people are able to work and survive. When people have their own business to provide for and help their family, they dream of making their business bigger and prospering from it. The reality for these people is totally different because once gangs put their eyes on people’s business, they must pay a daily portion of their income for extortion. All types of businesses, stores, beauty salons, and barbers have to pay. Every business pays protection money in an envelope collected by the gangs, and each individual must pay, too, for the privilege of not dying.

In conclusion, although many Salvadorans’ lives are affected every day by the brutal impact of gangs’ control of neighborhoods, they do not lose the hope of having a country of peace, love and security. Salvadorian people still work to make El Salvador a country where they can live without fear.