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Armando 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

Armando Calderón Sol: 1948—: Former president of El Salvador.

A wealthy lawyer from El Salvador, Armando Calderón Sol worked his way through the political system to serve first as mayor of the capital city, San Salvador, and later as president of the country from 1994 to 1999. Calderón Sol became the first peacetime president in El Salvador following a 12-year civil war between Communist and anti-Communist factions. Calderón Sol worked to improve the image of his party in particular, and Salvadoran politics in general, although his political career was controversial because his political party was associated with terrorist tactics, such as death squads. During his tenure as president, however, Calderón Sol implemented numerous economic reforms to help his country work towards economic prosperity and independence.

Calderón Sol was born on June 24, 1948, in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. As the son of a conservative, powerful, land-owning family, his early education was provided by the Jesuits. In 1966 he graduated from college with a degree in science and literature from the Colegio Externado de San José. He then went on to study law, earning his J.D. in administrative law from the University of El Salvador in 1977.

Calderón Sol worked as an assistant justice in the civil court and as a justice of the peace at the Isidro Menéndez Judicial Center. He married Elizabeth Aguirre, and the couple had three sons.

El Salvador has had a violent history, particularly in the last century, and from the 1930s to the 1980s the country was run primarily by the military. The country's political and economic systems have been run by an oligarchy made up of 14 wealthy land-owning families. In the 1970s and 1980s El Salvador became a major battleground for the Cold War, the political and economic struggle between capitalized democracies, such as the United States and Western Europe, and Communist states, such as the Soviet Union and Cuba. Poor peasants in El Salvador joined guerrilla groups that were sympathetic to Communist reforms that they believed would distribute wealth and property more equally among all Salvadorans. In 1980 these guerrilla groups formed the Frente Farabundo Martí de Liberación (FMLN), or National Liberation Front. In response to this movement, the United States spent $1.5 million a day supporting right-wing, antiCommunist political factions. The result was a 12-year civil war.

At a Glance . . .

Born Armando Calderón Sol on June 24, 1948, in San Salvador, El Salvador; married Elizabeth Aguirre; children: three sons. Education: Colegio Externado de San José, B.A., 1966; University of El Salvador, J.D., 1977. Politics: Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), the Nationalist Republican Alliance.

Career: Isidro Menéndez Judicial Center, assistant justice in the civil court and justice of the peace, 1978-80; ARENA, private secretary, legal counsel, vice president of ideology, parliamentary leader, member of the national directorate, 1981-84; Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, 1985-88; ARENA, president, political party, 1986; President of El Salvador, 1994-99.

Awards: Trade Leader of the Year, Fifth Annual Bravo Business Awards, 1999.

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