Effectively immediately, the government of El Salvador levies US$1000 + $1130 tax to all nationals of the list seeking to enter or transit the country’s international airport, San Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez.
The main “flag carrier” that serves El Salvador is Avianca, and the airline has already reacted by posting respective notices on its website, including a fee waiver for those passengers seeking to cancel their tickets due to the new requirement.
For whatever reason, the government of El Salvador has deemed nationals of these 57 countries (or at least a subsection of them) to be a problem and worked out that charging an outrageous fee for entering or transiting the country.
The only logical conclusion is that this must have something to do with an excessive amount of illegal immigration, asylum claims, or attempts to enter with forged documents that the government seeks to prevent.
El Salvador seems to be an odd country for illegal immigrants from Africa, let alone India, to go to given its remote geographic location and economic opportunities:
But we’re living in trying times, and most use it as a stepping stone for entering the southern U.S. border, which is, of course, as secure with as many holes as Swiss cheese these days. Those willing to risk the treacherous journey might just as well gamble and try making it north.
Someone would have to cross both Guatemala AND the entire country of Mexico. Of course, most who go this way don’t do this on their own but use a sophisticated trafficking network, including cartels from Mexico and Latin America. To even get started, they pay thousands to their contacts, so I’m not sure that a simple $1130 fee is serving as a real deterrence. It’s just another expense they somehow have to cover on their way north, likely less than 10% of what is being paid in total to the traffickers.