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

Reservations Among The Populus

While Calderón Sol campaigned for "a better level of life for all Salvadorans," many questioned whether he would be able to accomplish this goal. His association with D'Aubuisson led to public concern over a return to violent tactics. In fact, there were several assaults and assassinations related to the 1994 presidential elections, although they were not directly connected to Calderón Sol. In addition, Calderón Sol was not considered to be a strong leader with his own opinions. As one businessman told the Washington Post, "Cristiani was a statesman, while Calderón Sol is more of a populist, a demagogue, provincial in his outlook."

Despite the widespread reservations, Calderón Sol quickly used his new position to introduce radical economic reforms to El Salvador. He filled his cabinet with business leaders and his vice president, Enrique Borgo, was the former president of a major airline. In 1995 the Financial Times (London) reported Calderón Sol as saying, "Our vision as a nation is to transform El Salvador into a land of opportunity, with equity. We want to make the country attractive for local and foreign investment, and incorporate ourselves into the world production chain." To this end, Calderón Sol introduced economic reforms, such as privatizing major national industries, including utility companies, introducing a currency board, and encouraging foreign trade. It was a bold and risky reform program that was sharply criticized by the FMLN.

By 1996 El Salvador's economy was responding positively to Calderón Sol's initiatives. "Once a symbol for Cold War conflict, this tiny Central American nation has suddenly become the staging ground for a different kind of battle: free competition," reported the Wall Street Journal. The annual gross domestic product had grown from 2.1% to 5.3%, inflation had decreased, and the number of exports had increased. In a statement reported in the Institutional Investor, Calderón Sol boldly declared, "From now until the twenty-first century, El Salvador aims to achieve an economic miracle."

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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