Mauricio Funes


Mauricio Funes
Mauricio Funes
President of El Salvador
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 June 2009
Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Preceded by Antonio Saca
Personal details
Born 18 October 1959 (1959-10-18) (age 52)
San Salvador, El Salvador
Political party Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front
Spouse(s) Vanda Pignato
Alma mater Jose Simeon Cañas Central American University
Profession Journalist
Religion Roman Catholicism

Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena (born 18 October 1959 in San Salvador) is the President of El Salvador. He won the 2009 presidential election as the candidate of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) political party and took office on 1 June 2009.

Contents

Biography

Funes is married to Dr. Vanada Pignado, who was involved in the Workers' Party in Brazil.[1] They have one son, Gabriel. Funes received his High School Diploma (Bachillerato) from the Externado San José,[2] and completed his licenciate in literature at Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas"(UCA). Both Externado and UCA are jesuit institutions, something that has deeply influenced president Funes. In this respect, Funes has mentioned his relationship to the murdered scholars of UCA as of particular significance in his professional and personal development.[3] In 1994 he was awarded the Maria Moors Cabot prize from Columbia University for promoting press freedom and inter-American understanding.[4]

Funes' brother was killed during the Salvadoran Civil War.[5] His oldest son, Alejandro Funes Velasco, who was 27 years old, died after being attacked in Paris, France, where he was studying photography.[6]

Journalist career

Prior to his involvement with politics, Funes was a journalist who hosted a popular interview show on television.[7] He made appearances on Channel 12 and CNN en Español,[8] and also hosted local news programs which were critical of previous governments. He was a reporter during the Salvadoran Civil War and interviewed leftist rebel leaders. It was during this time that he became more politically oriented and left-wing.[5]

Politics

Election 2009

Funes was nominated to be the FMLN candidate on 28 September 2007 and competed against the Nationalist Republican Alliance's candidate Rodrigo Ávila, a former deputy director of the National Police. Funes won the 2009 presidential election with 51.32% of the popular vote, thus winning election in a single round. He is the country's second left-leaning president (the first being Arturo Araujo, as well as the first FMLN party leader not to have fought in the civil war.

His presidential campaign was highlighted by statements endorsing moderate political policies.[9] He has promised to better programs such as health care in rural areas and crime prevention.[10] Political opponents stated that Funes' election would herald an era of Venezuelan influence but he insisted that "integration with Central America and strengthening relations with North America will be the priority of our foreign policy".[7] Funes has also promised to keep the U.S. dollar as El Salvador's official currency (dollarization took place in 2001 under President Francisco Flores Pérez).[10]

Presidency

Domestic Policy

Since coming to power, Fune’s administration has implemented a wide range of social reforms designed to combat poverty and inequality, including the institution of various poverty alleviation programs in the most impoverished communities,[11] the abolition of public health care fees,[12] the introduction of free shoes,[11] meals and uniforms for schoolchildren, the distribution of property titles to hundreds of families,[13] the introduction of monthly stipends and job training for those living in extreme poverty, and pensions for the elderly.[14]

Foreign Policy

Upon his inauguration on June 1, 2009, Funes resumed Salvadorean diplomatic relations with Cuba. El Salvador previously suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba 50 years ago due to the Cuban Revolution.[15]

Hurricane Ida

On November, 2009 President Funes had to face the natural disaster that greatly affected communities in Cuzcatlan, San Salvador and San Vicente as a result of the rain brought by Hurricane Ida. A community in San Vicente called Verapaz disappeared because it was buried by huge rocks that fell from the nearby volcano. Civil Protection, which is the government entity in charge of handling catastrophes, rehabilitated public schools in which refugees stayed for more than 3 months while they found a place to stay from family or friends. The Army and the Red Cross of El Salvador rescued many people from the communities.

Crime Rate

Mr. Funes has been criticized[16] for lack of a plan to fight El Salvador’s increased criminal activity. Since taking office in June 2009, criminal statistics on homicides, robbery and extortion have increased, and as of February 2010, 13 persons were murdered daily.[citation needed] In response, the President has ordered the deployment of the army to cooperate with police authorities in their fight against crime.[17] More recently, there have been reports of newly formed Death Squads operating in El Salvador, due in part to a lack of response of the police.[18]

Polistepeque Scandal

In January 2010, after a public denouncement of Funes’ former cabinet member Francisco Gómez, local Salvadoran media uncovered plans whereby almost all government publicity and advertising were to be carried, without any previous public solicitation (as required by Salvadoran Law), by advertising agency Polistepeque, S.A. de C.V. Some advisers to the president are members of its board of directors, and allegedly Funes himself has some participation through stock in that agency.[19]

The President reacted to these accusations by stating that no other advertising agency in El Salvador has the experience or capacity to manage government publicity and advertising, despite the fact that El Salvador has many local and international advertising agencies such as BBDO.[20][21]

References

  1. ^ Ellingwood, Ken (June 26, 2008). "In El Salvador, journalist may lead leftists to center stage". Los Angeles Times: p. 2. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/26/world/fg-elsalvador26. Retrieved 11 March 2009. 
  2. ^ (Spanish) "Mauricio Funes (Biography)". Mauricio Funes: Un cambio seguro. http://www.mauriciofunespresidente.com/biografia_mauricio_funes.php?position=militancia. Retrieved 11 March 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ (Spanish) "Mártires jesuitas reciben Orden José Matías Delgado". Mártires jesuitas reciben Orden José Matías Delgado. http://www.uca.edu.sv/web_martires/nota.php?id=19. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "4 awards for Latin American Coverage". The New York Times. 1994-10-27. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/27/world/4-awards-for-latin-american-coverage.html. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  5. ^ a b Factbox: Salvadoran President-elect Mauricio Funes. Reuters 2009-03-16. Retrieved on 2009-03-16.
  6. ^ (Spanish) "Fallece en París Alejandro Funes, hijo del periodista Mauricio Funes". Chichicaste. October 11, 2007. http://chichicaste.blogcindario.com/2007/10/00682-comunicado-oficial-sobre-la-muerte-de-alejandro-funes-hijo-de-mauricio-funes.html. Retrieved 11 March 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Journalist Mauricio Funes wins El Salvador presidency. The Guardian 2009-03-16. Retrieved on 2009-03-16.
  8. ^ Booth, William (March 9, 2009). "In El Salvador Vote, Big Opportunity for Leftists". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/08/AR2009030801775.html. Retrieved 11 March 2009. 
  9. ^ Left-winger wins El Salvador poll. BBC News 2009-03-16. Retrieved on 2009-03-16.
  10. ^ a b "Left Turn". The Economist: pp. 40. March 21–27 
  11. ^ a b http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-stephens/whats-really-happening-in_b_627066.html
  12. ^ http://democracyinamericas.org/pdfs/The_First_Hundred_Days_of_President_Mauricio_Funes.pdf
  13. ^ http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/42417
  14. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Split+with+the+past%3a+with+Panama%27s+Ricardo+Martinelli+and+EL...-a0221432355
  15. ^ http://www.elsalvador.org/Embajadas/eeuu/Prensa2.nsf/67c8b047c4924b4a85256997006cc1ff/573d8acfc91c4a0e852575d70078029e?OpenDocument
  16. ^ http://www.elsalvador.com/mwedh/nota/nota_opinion.asp?idCat=6342&idArt=4505386
  17. ^ http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49251
  18. ^ http://www.havanatimes.org/sp/?p=3052
  19. ^ http://www.lapagina.com.sv/nacionales/25133/Mauricio-Funes-le-daria-toda-la-publicidad-del-gobierno-a-empresa-de-amigos
  20. ^ http://www.lapagina.com.sv/nacionales/25355/Funes-defiende-asignacion-publicitaria-a-Polistepeque
  21. ^ http://www.lapagina.com.sv/nacionales/25471/Publicistas-en-El-Salvador-piden-a-Funes-cancelar-contrato-con-empresa-de-su-amigo-personal

10 ^ (Spanish) "Mauricio Funes (Biography)". http://mauriciofunes.org/

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Antonio Saca
President of El Salvador
2009–present
Incumbent

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