A New Era – Meet Carlos Calleja, the Trailblazing Presidential Candidate of El Salvador that is Reenergizing Hope
Carlos Calleja-Presidential Candidate of El Salvador. Photo: Carlos Calleja Official Page. Carlos Calleja Presidente.com
Meet Carlos Calleja, Presidential Candidate for El Salvador, 2019.
“I am Salvadorian. I come from a hard-working family. I am the son of Francisco Calleja and Maureen Hakker, from whom I learned the example of strength, the value of family and the harvest of effort. I am married to Andrea and I am the father of two children, Santiago and Miranda. I graduated with a Bachelors of Liberal Arts from Middlebury College and a Masters of Business Administration from the Business School of the University of New York.
After finishing my studies I started my professional career as a strategic consultant for several multinational companies and as Senior Vice President of FreshDirect, an online grocery company based in New York. Upon my return to El Salvador, I had the opportunity to assume the Executive Vice Presidency of Grupo Calleja, a conglomerate of supermarkets, real estate and financial services founded by my grandfather at the beginning of the century. Together with my colleagues, we began a process of modernization, consolidation, and expansion of the company. Currently, the “Super Selectos” supermarket chain and the main company of Grupo Calleja, has become one of the most important and admired companies in El Salvador, providing employment to more than 12,000 people in almost 100 branches throughout the country.
In addition to having achieved success at the business level, I have contributed to the economic and social development of the country. I have always been passionate about helping others and this is I founded the Calleja Foundation, to design and implement regionally recognized corporate social responsibility initiatives, most of them focused on the growth of agricultural communities and the quality of early education.
The composite of my training and work experience has shaped a new vision for El Salvador, one that is more humane and comprehensive, rooted in the idea that the prosperity of a society lies in the ability to generate jobs, support entrepreneurship and boost education.
At the age of 41, I made the decision to dedicate all my efforts to make the dream of a better country a reality. In April of this year, I obtained the candidacy for the presidency by the ARENA party to compete in the 2019 elections.
My mission is to unite all Salvadorans who believe in freedom and democracy, regardless of political divisions. I propose to leave behind the divisions of the past and together build the El Salvador that we want and deserve.” Carlos Calleja, Presidential Candidate of El Salvador, 2019.
On the Current State of El Salvador’s Economy
“We have an economic growth of two percent. That is very low. We have to grow at least four to five percent. For that, we have to double the investment in our country by generating certainty and confidence for investors. I am willing as the next president of El Salvador to grab my backpack, sell El Salvador to the world and bring technological, modern and innovative companies to Salvador because we have the best human talent.”
The Triangle Analogy
“I call it the triangle of hope. In order to leap forward with our economy, we have to take a leap in the quality of our education. We have a very serious problem in this area. Our youth at 8, 9 or 10 years old are forced to ask their families if they can or cannot continue studying due to economic problems. We need to ensure complete educational quality for all Salvadorans. The subject of security, work and education are connected and part of the same triangle. One depends on the other. The best prevention for violence comes through a strong education.
To transform our country we need to keep our children in schools and generate new jobs for our young people so they do not fall into crime or to migration.”
On the Suspension of TPS
“The suspension of TPS is a national issue that calls for national unity. We face a problem that demands the best of our talents to resolve. We have 18 months to generate opportunities and strengthen our relationship with neighboring countries, including the United States. The time is now to reorient our economic policy and ensure the well-being of all Salvadorans. Today more than ever we need a quick response from the government to attract more foreign and local investment.”
“I propose the incorporation of technology and English into Salvadoran education and other tools to be able to insert our young people into the economy of the future.”
Carlos Callejas proposes the creation of technological development zones throughout the country as a commitment to the new economy.
Dentro de las propuestas que presentamos para nuestros jóvenes destaca #DistritosTech: 3 parques de innovación que tendrán sus puertas abiertas para que inversionistas consoliden sus empresas acá y generemos más y mejores trabajos que nos permitan ser más competitivos. pic.twitter.com/eFKIoX2B7X
— Carlos Calleja (@jccalleja) October 24, 2018
“With new technology parks, we will attract new good jobs. One for each area of the country: east, west and the central zone.”
“We will launch an online platform to sell Salvadoran products worldwide. The talent of our people deserves to reach everyone. That is why we are going to create the largest online platform for Salvadoran products.”
By expanding digital networks, Callejas anticipates a reduction of time and costs to start new companies. A digital stop for all paperwork will speed economic change and eliminate manual procedures. “We will make them digital. We will benefit companies and all citizens in any corner of the country, who will not have to travel to San Salvador to file paperwork.
VAMOS A GANAR EN PRIMERA VUELTA.
Nuestra Alianza la conforman 4 partidos y miles de ciudadanos que comparten un solo objetivo: convertir a El Salvador en un país con igualdad de oportunidades y buenos trabajos. pic.twitter.com/RQpRD9UGlq
— Carlos Calleja (@jccalleja) October 19, 2018
“We will win in our first round. Our alliance is composed of 4 parties and thousands of citizens that share one objective: to turn El Salvador into a country with plenty of opportunities and good jobs.”
“For us, the agricultural sector is very important. We are convinced that a commitment to agriculture is essential to fight poverty in our country.
The sector has been abandoned in recent years. Many of the households that are in poverty have agriculture as a main source of income and in recent years their income has stagnated.
We know that the poverty they face is due to lack of support, technical assistance, and mechanisms so that they can produce more. That is why we are launching the “Agro amigo” program.
With Agro amigo, our producers will have the necessary technical assistance and an improved agricultural package: more seeds and more fertilizers. In addition, specialized technicians will work alongside them in the fields so that they can produce more and thus obtain higher income to advance their families.”
“We will improve agricultural packages for our small producers, provide technical assistance, training and give them a secure market for their products.
In a few years, you will meet an El Salvador that has graduated into a first-class agriculture. From the Presidency, we will give priority to what our farmers produce and we will sell it to the whole world. This way we will overcome the poverty that has lived in the countryside, this is #AgroAmigo.”
Scope and goals
“The Agro friend program will help small producers increase their income between 15 and 30%, thanks to the fact that their harvest will be more productive. The package that will be delivered to them will be improved: more and better seeds, more fertilizers and according to the needs of the area they are in and technical assistance to make better use of the inputs.
Calleja’s administration proposes to provide technical support to all farmers: we will provide technical support to improve crop yields with respect to the following topics: know planting times, fertilizer controls, fertilizer types, pesticides, control of production costs, harvest storage and connection to markets. Technical assistance is the key to making the sector flourish.
“We are going to benefit more than 526 thousand producers nationwide (Source: EHPM 2017) Agricultural support programs have been politicized, often the aid does not reach the real producers, but is assigned for partisan reasons. We pledge that we will refine these lists of beneficiaries so that all small producers can receive the necessary support.”
Agro amigo will provide seeds and fertilizers for the cultivation of beans, corn, rice, sorghum, and grass. For this, the amount of the MAG budget destined for this program will be doubled. Currently, it is around US $ 19 Million (Source: Budget voted 2018 of the MAG) and we are committed to increasing it to US $ 30 Million to be able to bring support to every corner of our country.
Agro amigo not only commits to offer an improved agricultural package but also to coordinate with the Agricultural Development Bank, Banco Hipotecario, CENTA and the Ministry of Economy so that all government entities are at the service of the development and of the improvement of the income of the small producers.”
“I have traveled all over the country and one of the problems that most small producers have commented to me is related to the lack of access to markets with stable demand. Many times the small producer must sell his crop to intermediaries pay very low prices for their products. They need access to other markets that pay them the fair value for their products.
This is something the Calleja Foundation has been tackling in recent years: to reduce intermediaries so that small producers can sell their crops to buyers who pay a fair price and have a stable demand for their products.
Finally, the State will promote the development of micro-regional collection centers to consolidate the production of several small farmers and a cargo consolidation system to move the produce from the countryside to the city at a lower cost. These collection centers can be managed in a joint way between producer associations and municipalities.
With this program, we will benefit more than 526,000 producers nationwide, which will increase incomes between 25 and 50%.”
El Salvador has been recognized worldwide for the quality of its coffee, one of the most representative industries of our national pride, historically. However, in recent years, the sector has faced continuous crises, has been forgotten and abandoned.”
“We know that the financial situation of producers is urgent and we will work on finding solutions to respond in the short term to this situation. Currently, the Coffee Table has managed to reach specific agreements regarding the issue of financing, which should be implemented. But we do not want to stay there, we want to go further and bet big on the revitalization of the sector through the renovation of the coffee park.”
El jueves presentamos #CosechasDeOro, una medida que traerá crecimiento para este sector que se ha visto afectado en los últimos años. El Salvador tiene el potencial para producir un buen café y para obtener un mayor valor a través de la agroindustria. pic.twitter.com/8yFwunZKbD
— Carmen Aída Lazo (@carmenaidalazo) October 20, 2018
“We know that safety is one of the factors that is affecting this sector the most. Therefore, within our global security strategy, we contemplate measures to strengthen and train the Rural Police and different security plans according to the reality of each coffee zone.
With this bet will benefit the more than 23 thousand 600 producers throughout the country; of which, more than 17 thousand are small producers (produce in 5 apples or less). In addition, with the recovery of the sector, reaching the production levels of 2012/2013, at least 40 thousand direct jobs will be generated. (Source: Salvadoran Coffee Council).”
“We will support the surf industry to bring development to the coastal zone. We have a spectacular country with great potential to generate tourism.”
Becas del Futuro
“We propose access to technical and university education for more young people, through financing. Many young people are forced to abandon their studies due to lack of financial resources. That is why we will create access opportunities to technical and university education to more young people.”
Carmen Aida Lazo, VP Candidate, running mate of Carlos Valleja
“I am a Salvadoran, an economist, and I love my country.
I come from a simple home but with a lot of love. My dad was a civil engineer, who influenced me a lot. I love my job, I feel very proud to have been a professor and Dean of the School of Economics and Business for the last 6 years. From that position, I have directed research on economic, social issues, on poverty, economic growth, globalization, and integration, among others.
I worked as a Program Officer and as Deputy Coordinator of the Human Development Report in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). I was part of the Ministry of Economy as an Advisor on issues such as energy, international trade, free zones, statistics and negotiations with different sectors. I was also part of the first Board of Directors of the Superintendence of Competition.
I have been very active in civil society and with a lot of interest in issues of economic and social development. That is how I assumed the role of President of the Board of Directors of Techo. I was on the boards of Fundación Democracia, Transparencia y Justicia (DTJ), Banco Azul, Glasswing International and the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES), where I also participated in the commission of economic and social studies.
One of my greatest satisfaction has been to run the School for Young Leaders program, aimed at strengthening the capacities of girls in national institutes, as I deeply believe in the empowerment of young women.
I have had the enormous privilege of studying at the best universities in the country and the world thanks to scholarships. My alma mater is the Higher School of Economics and Business (ESEN), where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Business between 1994 and 1997. At the Catholic University of Chile, I earned a Masters in Applied Macroeconomics and later I received a scholarship from the Government of Japan and from the World Bank that allowed me to study International Development at Harvard University.
I love music, I read, I believe that opportunities change lives for people and my main aspiration to reach the government is to generate those opportunities. Coming from academia I believe a lot in the open discussion of ideas and in the plural debate. I also believe that there are more things that unite us among Salvadorans than those that divide us. I aspire to contribute to the much-needed unity of our nation.”
Estoy oficialmente inscrita a la candidatura por la Vicepresidencia de El Salvador. Me siento motivada por la fuerza del equipo que nos acompaña y segura que construiremos junto a #CallejaPresidente un #NuevoPaís lleno de esperanza con #TrabajoParaTodos 💪🏼🇸🇻❤. pic.twitter.com/218ub29TWd
— Carmen Aída Lazo (@carmenaidalazo) October 19, 2018
“I believe that politics can be exercised with simplicity and I consider that I have a true vocation for service. Now I aspire to the Vice Presidency of El Salvador to work for young people, for the women of this country, and to support the efforts of Carlos Calleja in generating work for all.
I am not a politician, I am a Salvadoran who has said yes to the challenge. I think that if more people get involved, our country will move forward. That is my hope, that is my commitment.”