Rodrigo Ávila (born June 25, 1964 in San Salvador) is a Salvadoran politician. He stood as the then ruling political party ARENA candidate for the presidency of El Salvador in the March 2009 presidential election. Upon his nomination, Ávila also became the President of ARENA. He has since resigned as President of the ARENA party. Former President, Alfredo Cristiani has since assumed the role of ARENA party President. His opponent, and victor of the contest, was Mauricio Funes of the FMLN. He is the first ARENA candidate to lose a Presidential election after Roberto D'Aubuisson.
Personal life and education
Rodrigo Ávila is married to Celina Denys de Ávila, his second wife, and has two daughters and one stepdaughter. He is the youngest of four children; his father is Roberto Ávila Moreira, a local medical doctor, and Thelma Avilez, a homemaker originally from Nicaragua.
He graduated from a local Catholic High School, Liceo Salvadoreño, in 1982, and graduated with an engineering degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. United States, in 1988. Ávila has also studied mathematics and administration at Gainesville State College and police science at Texas A&M University and the FBI National Academy.
After his return to El Salvador from college, Ávila worked briefly for the local Shell subsidiary as Regional Sales Manager for lubrication products. He left the company in 1993 to join as Sub-Director of the recently created Policía Nacional Civil (PNC), which substituted the old military police abolished during the peace accords of 1992. After the resignation of the PNC's first director, Dr. José María Monterrey, Ávila assumed the top post as interim director, until his thirtieth birthday, when he was finally confirmed as permanent Director (the charter of the Policía Nacional Civil states that the director must be thirty years of age or older). Ávila held this post until 1999, when the new administration of Francisco Flores took over in June.
Rodrigo Ávila's family was involved from the beginnings in the establishment of ARENA, with his older brother Roberto being one of the party's founding fathers. Ávila himself was not substantially involved in partisan politics until he was asked by the ARENA leadership to run as mayor of Santa Tecla, a small suburb of San Salvador. He lost to the incumbent mayor Óscar Ortiz, of the FMLN party in 2000.
For the next three years, Ávila worked as a security consultant, and as partner of a security firm. In 2003 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly representing La Libertad, where he was named deputy chief of the legislative faction of ARENA.
After one term in the national legislature, Ávila was named Viceminister of Security in the administration of President Elías Antonio Saca until he resigned to become, once again, Director of the National Civilian Police.
- D’Aubuisson estaría orgulloso de mí, Entrevista con Rodrigo Ávila El Faro Electronic News Magazine (in Spanish)
- RODRIGO PRESIDENTE Official Campaign Website (in Spanish)
- Derecha salvadoreña elige candidato presidencial a Rodrigo Avila, March 15, 2008 (in Spanish)
- Rodrigo Ávila's official biography (in Spanish)
- Rodrigo Ávila candidato por ARENA, BusinessLeone.com, March 15, 2008 (in Spanish)