José Napoleón Duarte

Duarte, José Napoleón (dwärˈtā) [key], 1925–90, president of El Salvador (1980–82, 1984–89). A Christian Democrat, he was mayor of San Salvador (1964–70). In 1972, Duarte was elected president, but was exiled by the army. He was allowed to return (1979), and in 1980 was named to the ruling military junta, which later named him president. He was forced from office (1982) when the government turned to the far right. With strong U.S. backing, he became president again (1984), but failed in his promises to achieve land reform, stem death squad activity, and negotiate with the leftist rebels. He died of cancer shortly after leaving office.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Salvadoran History: Biographies