As a 14-year-old in El Salvador during its brutal civil war, José Wilfredo Flores faced a choice: Join the guerrillas or join the army.
“The guerrillas would come to our house,” says Flores. “We had to hide. You couldn’t say no because then they would think you were on the army’s side and shoot you. A few hours later, the army guys would come and say, ‘We want food. We want to take you.’ If you said no, they’d think you were with the guerrillas.”
In 1984, Flores’s mother made her own painful choice. She paid $1,400 to a smuggler, or coyote, to help guide her son to Washington, D.C., where his uncle and his 18-year-old brother lived.
To read the full article referencing LEDC’s work with immigrants who want to start small businesses, click here.