Alfredo Cristiani

Alfredo Cristiani

Alfredo Cristiani Burkard, popularly known as Alfredo Cristiani (b. c1948) was President of El Salvador from 1989 to 1994.

Born into a wealthy family, he was educated at the 'Escuela Americana' (American School) in San Salvador, and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He returned to El Salvador to work for the family business, which included pharmaceuticals, coffee, and cotton.

He remained generally outside politics until the beginning of the 1980s when the leftist FMLN guerillas and their "campesino" followers, armed and trained by Cuba, began squatting on farms. As insurrection became more widespread, he became involved with the Conservative ARENA party, which had been founded by School of the Americas trained military intelligence officer Roberto D'Aubuisson. In March 1985 D'Aubuisson resigned after ARENA suffered a defeat in the congressional elections, and Cristiani became leader of the party.

In the local and congressional elections of March 1988 ARENA won 80% of the local votes and 31 of the 60 seats in the Congress; Cristiani won one of the seats.

After becoming President of El Salvador, he, with members of his cabinet, and other colleagues visited Europe and London for discussions with parliamentarians regarding the communist infiltration of Central America. He was the principal guest at a dinner held in his honour by the Western Goals Institute at Simpsons-in-the-Strand, London, on September 25, 1989. The guest list included figures such as Sir Alfred Sherman (policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher), Professor Antony Flew, Zigmunt Szkopiak, Denis Walker and Dr Harvey Ward ["The Daily Telegraph" and "Times", Court & Social page, 26 September 1989] .

He was still a member of the National Assembly in 2000.

He married Margarita née Llach, and has three children.


* Europa Publications Ltd., "The International Who's Who 2000", 63rd edition, Surrey, UK, p.345, ISBN 1-85743-050-6

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