More diplomatic support arrives for Nashville's Latin American community

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 21:47:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The first Latin American consulate general has opened its doors in Nashville. El Salvador's Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated its 26th consulate in Nashville, Tennessee.

Consul General Marta Maria Orantes said it's a privilege to be the first in the region.

There are approximately 18,000 Salvadorians in the region, said Orantes. Rather than travel to consulates in Atlanta or Charlotte, now they'll have diplomatic support in their own city.

But Orantes said people want consulates from other countries like Honduras or Guatemala to open in Nashville too.

This comes as hundreds of Guatemalans are currently meeting with the country's mobile consulate which is making a visit in Nashville.

"It's been very busy," said Diane Janbakhsh, executive director of the Hispanic Family Foundation. "This past weekend was extremely busy."

Plaza Mariachi is hosting the week-long event.

"As you can tell the lines haven't stopped," said Janbakhsh. "They're not going down and we're hoping that they get to see as many people and assist as many as possible."

All week lines have snaked around Plaza Mariachi as Guatemalans wait for help that only comes every so often.

"A lot of the basic things that they're looking for is renewing their passports, maybe replacing birth certificates or ID's or things from their country that just needed renewals," said Janbakhsh.

But many hope Guatemala - and other countries - will join El Salvador in setting up a permanent office in Nashville.

"I think it would be a great service and it would show unification amongst the nations here in such a pivotal time in history, but also in a very diverse and beautiful multicultural community that we're turning into," said Janbakhsh.

El Salvador's consulate general will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The address is 311 Plus, Park Boulevard, Suite No. 110, Nashville.

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