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

Worked To Improve Foreign Relations

Calderón Sol implemented financial reforms which aimed to decrease El Salvador's economic dependence on the United States, but he also worked to improve foreign relations with the United States, despite the strong criticisms he had voiced earlier in his political career. In 1996 Calderón Sol met with then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher to discuss trade parity, immigration, and drug trafficking. According to the U.S. Department of State website, "U.S. policy toward El Salvador seeks to promote the strengthening of El Salvador's democratic institutions, rule of law, judicial reform, and civilian police and national reconciliation and reconstruction, economic opportunity, and growth." Calderón Sol also worked to strengthen foreign relations with other Central American countries. For example, in 1997 El Salvador agreed to build a "dry canal" highway with Honduras, a once unfriendly neighbor, in order to compete with the Panama Canal.

Despite these successes, Calderón Sol faced other challenges. In particular, poverty and crime were still high in El Salvador. Calderón Sol's economic reforms had not really addressed financial institutions such as banks, and in 1997 a savings and loan scandal cost Salvadorans millions of dollars. In addition Calderón Sol was under continuous scrutiny for not abiding by the 1992 United Nations Peace Accords. In particular, the police force was supposed to be transformed from a military to a civilian organization, land was to be more evenly distributed, and investigations and prosecutions were to be initiated on the death squads. Calderón Sol had only addressed these issues to a very limited extent.

In 1999 Calderón Sol completed his five-year term as president and another ARENA candidate, Francisco Flores, won the position. Calderón Sol has continued to push for economic reforms in El Salvador. He has been especially vocal about favoring dolarization of the Salvadoran currency, even when other experts cautioned that it might be too soon. In 1999 Calderón Sol was recognized as Trade Leader of the Year at the Fifth Annual Bravo Business Awards. In the same year he told Latin Trade magazine, "I am motivated toward the free market by the reality of the tiny size of El Salvador: We either had to open ourselves to the world and competition, or to stay submerged in our little corner. The latter is not viable for us."



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U.S. Department of State, www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2033.htm

World History Archives, www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/index-db.html

—Janet P. Stamatel

Additional topics

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