Molina, Arturo Armando (1927–)

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Molina, Arturo Armando (1927–)

Arturo Armando Molina (b. 6 August 1927), Salvadoran military officer and president (1972–1977). Born into a military family, Molina began his primary education in Sonsonate and graduated from the military school in San Salvador in 1949 as a sublieutenant of infantry. He advanced through the ranks on schedule and served in a variety of positions: comandante of Santa Anna, subdirector of the military school, and professor of tactics, strategy, and military history until Fidel Sánchez Hernández chose him as his successor in 1972. The 1972 "stolen elections" were a milestone in Salvadoran history as the government's Party of National Conciliation denied the victory to the civilian UNO slate led by José Napoleón Duarte. As president, Colonel Molina was distrusted by both the oligarchy and the right-wing military, as well as resented by the opposition from whom he had stolen power. Molina dubbed his presidency a period of "national transformation," a slogan that reflected his commitment to making visible changes not only in roads and ports but also in foreign investment incentives and administrative reforms. Molina's tenure saw the polarization of Salvadoran society as the Left began to form guerrilla groups and the Right countered with paramilitary "death squads." His attempts to silence opposition included the 1972 military occupation and closure of the university, violence directed against those protesting the 1975 Miss Universe pageant in San Salvador, and overt attacks on the church, including the assassination of priests. Molina's presidency set the stage for the civil war of the 1980s in El Salvador. Although after his term was over in 1977, he left the country, and in 1992 he returned to El Salvador.

See alsoEl Salvador .


Stephen Webre, José Napoleón Duarte and the Christian Democratic Party in San Salvadoran Politics, 1960–1972 (1979).

Enrique A. Baloyra, El Salvador in Transition (1982).

James Dunkerley, The Long War: Dictatorship and Revolution in El Salvador (1982).

Philip L. Russell, El Salvador in Crisis (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Grenier, Yvon. The Emergence of Insurgency in El Salvador: Ideology and Political Will. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999.

Molina, Arturo Armando. Política de transformación agraria del presidente Molina. San Salvador: Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería, Departamento de Información Agropecuario, 1976.

                                             Karen Racine

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Molina, Arturo Armando (1927–)

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