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Armando Calderón Sol: 1948—: Former President of El Salvador

Joined Salvadorian Nationalist Movement

Calderón Sol became involved in politics in the midst of this crisis. In the late 1970s he became a member of the Salvadoran Nationalist Movement (MNS), a group of upper-middle class men who supported anti-Communist politics. In 1981 an army intelligence officer, Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, unified the MNS and other right-wing militant groups under one party, the Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), or Nationalist Republican Alliance. ARENA called for the extermination of the Communists, and was supported in this goal by the oligarchy. A violent organization that used terrorism to accomplish its goals, ARENA was linked to death squads that killed prominent supporters of the FMLN, as well as others who publicly criticized the movement. In 1980 Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated by a death squad, a tragedy which brought national attention to the violence in El Salvador. D'Aubuisson was believed to have ordered the murder.

Calderón Sol was 31 years old when ARENA was founded. He worked as D'Aubuisson's private secretary and held numerous other positions, including legal counsel, vice president of ideology, parliamentary leader, and member of the national directorate. In 1986 Calderón Sol became president of the party. Although ARENA's influence grew in the 1980s, it was difficult for the party to gain political legitimacy. In 1982 and 1984 the United States blocked D'Aubuisson from becoming president of El Salvador because of his terrorist tactics. Instead, Jose Napoleon Duarte, a Christian Democrat, served as president from 1984 until 1989.

By the end of the 1980s ARENA was working to change its public image and distance itself from violence and terrorism. Calderón Sol became an important figure in this transformation. "While Calderón Sol's close and continuing association with the D'Aubuisson group is well documented, his personal role in acts of violence was unclear," the Washington Post reported. This ambiguous position helped to give Calderón Sol the power of the ARENA party without the taint of bloodshed.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II BiographyArmando Calderón Sol: 1948—: Former President of El Salvador Biography - Joined Salvadorian Nationalist Movement, Elected To Legislative Assembley, Reservations Among The Populus, Worked To Improve Foreign Relations