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Joaquín Villalobos

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Un político salvadoreño y ex líder guerrillero. | A Salvadoran politician and former guerrilla leader.
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Biography

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Joaquín Villalobos (San Salvador, 1951) es un político salvadoreño, fundador y máximo dirigente del Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP) una de cinco organizaciones que conformaron en 1980, el Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional, durante la Guerra Civil de El Salvador.

 

Estudió en el Liceo Salvadoreño, colegio marista. Desde 1970 fue miembro de "El Grupo", una organización armada clandestina, germen del ERP, y que fue responsable del secuestro del empresario Ernesto Regalado Dueñas. En 1972, participó en la fundación del ERP. En 1975, junto con otros miembros de la dirección del ERP, fue responsable del asesinato del poeta Roque Dalton. En 1977 se convirtió en secretario general de la organización. En 1980 participó en las conversaciones entre las distintas organizaciones armadas de izquierda para conformar el FMLN.

 

Durante la guerra, Villalobos, conocido por su seudónimo "Comandante Atilio" era considerado uno de los principales estrategas militares del FMLN; en los años de guerra, Villalobos mantuvo un enfrentamiento ideológico con el dirigente comunista Schafik Handal por la dirección del FMLN. Entre 1981 y 1988, Villalobos comandó las unidades guerrilleras del ERP, en el norte del departamento de Morazán. Villalobos fue miembro de la delegación negociadora del FMLN en el proceso de paz del país y fue uno de los signatarios de los Acuerdos de paz que pusieron fin la guerra civil de El Salvador.

 

Como consecuencia de los Acuerdos de Paz de 1992, el FMLN se convirtió en un partido político legal. Villalobos continuó como miembro del FMLN hasta 1994, aunque sus opiniones se hicieron antagonistas con otros líderes del partido, cuando comenzó a proponer que el FMLN adoptará la ideología socialdemócrata. En 1995, él junto con otros antiguos dirigentes del ERP, abandonaron el FMLN para formar un nuevo partido político centrista, el Partido Demócrata, que desapareció como un partido político en las elecciones de 1999.

 

A finales de la década de 1990, Villalobos se trasladó a Inglaterra para estudiar en la Universidad de Oxford. Ahora Villalobos es un crítico abierto de la izquierda de El Salvador y él también ha sido públicamente crítico de todos los movimientos de izquierda de otros países latinoamericanos, cercanos al presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez.

 

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Joaquín Villalobos (born 1951) is a Salvadoran politician and former guerrilla leader.

 

Villalobos was one the main leaders of the People's Revolutionary Army, or Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo, a group that emerged in El Salvador in the early 1970s as a loose federation of cells with roots in various Marxist and left-wing Catholic groups. The ERP was one of the five organizations that joined together in 1980 to form the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front during the Salvadoran Civil War, in which left-wing guerrillas fought El Salvador’s military-dominated and US-backed right-wing government. An economics student and left-wing activist, Villalobos joined the ERP in 1971, at the age of 19. He has since been accused of involvement in the killing in 1975 of Roque Dalton, the revolutionary poet and fellow ERP leader who was shot by his comrades after a power struggle in the group led to accusations that he was a CIA spy. At the time, the killing led to splits and recriminations within the ERP and criticism from other leftists, but after 1980 Villalobos rose to become one of the FMLN’s main military strategists. The ERP under his leadership has been described as “the most efficient military organisation on the Salvadoran left” during the civil war, with Villalobos developing a “reputation for brash strategic brilliance”. He subsequently played a major role in the negotiations that ended the civil war, presenting himself as the conciliatory face of the ERP. In 1992, the year in which the peace agreement was signed, The New York Times described him as a “feared military commander with a reputation for ruthlessness”, but also noted his admission of errors in the rebels’ tactics and his stated regret for many of the killings they had been involved in.

 

As a result of the 1992 peace accords, the FMLN was legalized as a political party. Villalobos remained a member until 1995, when he and other former leaders of the ERP split from the FMLN to form a new centrist political party, the Democratic Party, which signed a deal with the then government accepting a series of neoliberal reforms. Later in the 1990s, Villalobos went to England to study at St Anthony's College, Oxford University on a scholarship funded by the British Foreign Office.

 

Villalobos is now an outspoken critic of the left in Latin American countries. He has served as a consultant on peacemaking efforts in other countries (Colombia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Bosnia, Northern Ireland), as an advisor to the Center of Cooperation Initiatives for Development at the University of Alcalá de Henares, and as a member of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington DC, USA. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife, Roxana, and 3 sons, Guillermo, Felipe and Rafael.

 

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11th Dec 08

updated: 2013-01-13

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