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Guatemala's new president Alvaro Colom Caballeros


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Profile: Guatemala's new president Alvaro Colom Caballeros



www.chinaviewspam 2008-01-15 07:06:53


MEXICO CITY, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Alvaro Colom, a 57-year-old industrial engineer and textile businessman, was sworn in on Monday as Guatemala's president for a 4-year term at a ceremony at the Miguel Angel Asturias National Theatre in central Guatemala City, according to news reaching here.


During his election campaign, he promised to promote free markets and reduce inequality focusing on the following areas -- fighting poverty and crime via social spending, generating jobs via investment promotion, and purging the police and the courts of corruption.


He has also publicly stated that broad dialogue between political parties is essential to overcome the nation's social and economic backwardness that has continued despite the 1996 end of a30-year armed conflict, in which government-backed paramilitary forces fought guerrillas.


Born in Guatemala City on June 15, 1951, he earned his University of San Carlos industrial engineering degree in just three years, before starting a textile business. He also led the nation's export association from 1977 to 1990.


In 1991, he became deputy economy minister and then director of the National Peace Fund (Fonapaz), which administrated international aid pledged as part of the process to end the Guatemala's civil war.


Under Colom's leadership, Fonapaz helped repatriate and resettle at least 40,000 Guatemalan refugees who had fled to Mexico to escape Guatemala's political violence.


Before last year's win, Colom had campaigned for the presidency on two separate occasions. In 1999, he won third place as the candidate for the Guatemalan Revolutionary Unity Party, the political wing of the demobilized guerrillas. In 2003, he came second representing the UNE, a party he founded, losing to Oscar Berger.


He finally won the presidency on Nov. 4 last year with a narrow lead over Otto Perez Molina, a former general representing the right win Patriotic Party.


Colom is married to businesswoman Sandra Torres, his second wife. They have three children. He practices traditional Maya religion.



Editor: Wang Yan

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