Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Shot Through the Heart and Who is to Blame?

by | Feb 24, 2024 | Travel | 0 comments

Saint Romero of the Americas, Eating Pupusas and Raising Funds in San Salvador

In 2015, I still held tight to my dreams of becoming a real estate mogul.

While I loved real estate development, what I loved more was the idea of having enough money to retire young and spend most of my days writing à la George Soros.

I flew out to San Salvador to meet with prospective investors to raise funds for more development projects.

It might seem weird to some people to go to developing countries to raise money but having grown up in Colombia; I also know there is unimaginable wealth in these countries.

In Colombia, we divided cities by regions called estratos (or layers). The estrato was used to rate how much each region should pay for utilities like electricity, water, and gas, with estrato uno being the cheapest and estrato seis the most expensive and boogie.

These estratos were not meant to be social signifiers, but they were.

They were used to quickly determine each region’s range of money and status.

Social critiques would say that in Colombia, there were two invisible estratos: estrato cero for the extremely poor and estrato siete for the extremely wealthy.

The person we knew in San Salvador had contacts interested in investing in real estate in the United States, so I went and pitched.

I had to fly out on a Tuesday, one day after my birthday. I was already living in Petaluma but wanted to spend it with my family. So I flew into San Diego on Friday and spent the weekend there.

On Saturday, I spent the night in my office working on my prospectus — a fancy word to describe a bunch of pages meant to get people to give you money.

That night in the office building was creepy; no one was there, and only the emergency lights were on. I was all alone in my office, chasing the American dream; this is what I moved to the States for.

I won’t confirm nor deny that the exhaustion turned into short sprints of mild crying, wondering out loud, “What the hell am I doing?”

I celebrated my birthday on Monday, March 16, with a vanilla, nothing-bundt cake, and my wife and I were in bed by 8.

I remember telling Justine (but more to myself), “I’d much rather stay here all week to celebrate my birthday, but these are the sacrifices that will eventually pay off.” 

They didn’t.

Along with my birthday, the anniversary of this trip is approaching. I’m constantly reminded of it by my Apple Photos widget, which keeps bringing up the above picture. It was the only half-decent picture I took on that trip.

I do love this picture, though.

In the distance, you can see El Salvador’s tallest building, Torre El Pedregal. Actually, as of 2024, it is the second tallest building.

This tower was built in 2009 in a posh area of the city called El Pedregal. I was told Salvadoreans don’t trust tall buildings in their counties because of the earthquakes and floods the country consistently experiences. So, it has always struggled to be completely occupied, and its inhabitants are mostly foreigners not worried that they will die flattened like a pupusa under the weight of all that concrete and steel.

The mural is what caught my attention and why I took the photo.

My great-grandfather was from El Salvador, and the eyes of this man look a lot like his. Obviously, this is not my great-grandfather. It is a mural of Monseñor Romero. He was killed with one shot to the heart while he was giving communion on March 24, 1980.

What was his crime, you may ask?

Well, he dedicated his life to advocating against the oppression of the poor, the marginalized, and campesinos (farmers).

Can you believe the nards on this douche nozzle?

Who advocates for campesinos? Seriously! Who does that?

Sure, campesinos are the stewards of the land, and they are basically the ones providing the nutrients, enzymes, and riboflavin to sustain society itself. They give us the very base of recipes, pretentious restaurants, and stupid Michelin stars. But other than that, what?

Well, the Salvadorean government did not like that.

So they ordered his hit.

Some accounts say he was giving communion; others say he had already finished mass. Either way, you should know that he was giving this mass to a group of terminally ill cancer patients.

I mean, this guy is the worst, am I right?

This guy truly gave love a bad name.

The assassination of Saint Romero of the Americas is considered to be the symbolic beginning of the country’s civil war.

I never read much about this war, but I remember my mom recounting how my grandmother constantly begged her parents to move to Colombia, and my grandfather calmly responded, “La paz y la calma regresarán a este país.” (Peace and calm will come back.)

He died without seeing peace in his country.

I was in El Salvador raising money for my projects, and I raised so much nothing.

It’s not like I came home empty-handed.

The bread, tropical fruits, and pupusas were so cheap that in four days, I gained a few pounds.

So, not everything was lost.


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