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Rodrigo Avila

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WORLD
March 16, 2009 | Tracy Wilkinson
Salvadorans on Sunday elected a former TV reporter as the country's first leftist president, unseating a conservative party that ruled for two decades and choosing a government that will be dominated by former guerrillas. Mauricio Funes, an affable political moderate running on behalf of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, claimed victory after nearly complete returns gave him a lead that experts said was insurmountable. "This is the happiest night of my life, and I also want it to be the night of greatest hope for El Salvador," an emotional Funes said in a crowded hotel conference room, as cameras flashed and supporters cheered.
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WORLD
March 16, 2009 | Tracy Wilkinson
Salvadorans on Sunday elected a former TV reporter as the country's first leftist president, unseating a conservative party that ruled for two decades and choosing a government that will be dominated by former guerrillas. Mauricio Funes, an affable political moderate running on behalf of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, claimed victory after nearly complete returns gave him a lead that experts said was insurmountable. "This is the happiest night of my life, and I also want it to be the night of greatest hope for El Salvador," an emotional Funes said in a crowded hotel conference room, as cameras flashed and supporters cheered.
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WORLD
June 16, 1994 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The teen-agers crowding at the edge of the central plaza flash hand signs, share a marijuana joint and swap stories of the previous night's exploits. Dressed in baggy pants, their arms and chests covered with tattoos, their hair slicked back, they speak a street Spanish mixed with street English and call each other by gang nicknames. "Whassup, home?" Meet the Hollywood Locos gang--El Salvador branch. The latest product of the longstanding social and economic ties between El Salvador and the United States, especially Southern California, is something neither side is particularly eager to claim: a rapidly expanding and increasingly violent gang subculture.
WORLD
June 16, 1994 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The teen-agers crowding at the edge of the central plaza flash hand signs, share a marijuana joint and swap stories of the previous night's exploits. Dressed in baggy pants, their arms and chests covered with tattoos, their hair slicked back, they speak a street Spanish mixed with street English and call each other by gang nicknames. "Whassup, home?" Meet the Hollywood Locos gang--El Salvador branch. The latest product of the longstanding social and economic ties between El Salvador and the United States, especially Southern California, is something neither side is particularly eager to claim: a rapidly expanding and increasingly violent gang subculture.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 10, 2007 | Patrick McGreevy, Times Staff Writer
An international summit on transnational gangs wrapped up in Universal City on Friday with an agreement between U.S. and Latin American law enforcement leaders to begin crafting four initiatives, including one to improve intelligence sharing on criminals who move back and forth over borders.
OPINION
March 13, 2009
Though tame perhaps by today's standards, El Salvador's civil war in the 1980s was a brutal front in the Cold War that claimed 75,000 lives. The country was a frightening place where right-wing hit men assassinated the archbishop of San Salvador as he celebrated Mass, executed six Jesuit priests in the night and murdered American churchwomen by the side of a highway.
NEWS
December 13, 1994 | TRACY WILKINSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Rodrigo Avila, the head of El Salvador's new civilian police department, arrives for a meeting alone and driving his own car. No bodyguards, no assistants. This might not seem unusual except that Avila has survived three assassination attempts in his first six months on the job. "I see it as a matter of fate," the young commander says, shrugging off the peril. "It is more dangerous today in El Salvador to be a run-of-the-mill Salvadoran than to be the police chief."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 7, 2007 | Patrick McGreevy, Times Staff Writer
Rodrigo Avila-Aviles came to Los Angeles from El Salvador this week to discuss an export-import problem that has nothing to do with tariffs or quotas. As director general of the El Salvador National Civil Police, Avila-Aviles is here to talk to the FBI about what can be done about the number of gang members moving back and forth between Central America and the United States. Once here, they learn new ways to menace neighborhoods before they are deported, the director general said.
WORLD
March 13, 2009 | Tracy Wilkinson
For much of the 16 months he's been campaigning to become El Salvador's first leftist president, Mauricio Funes seemed headed for a landslide victory. But three days before Salvadorans vote, there are signs that the outcome is far from certain as tensions rise throughout this violent, polarized country. Funes, a former television reporter, is the widely popular candidate of the onetime guerrilla movement that fought U.S.
WORLD
June 2, 2009 | Alex Renderos and Ken Ellingwood
Mauricio Funes, a television journalist whose party once fought a bloody guerrilla war in El Salvador, on Monday became the country's first leftist president amid emotional symbols of landmark change. Funes, a 49-year-old moderate elected under the banner of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, cast himself as a motor of change for El Salvador, in the mold of President Obama and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.
WORLD
February 27, 2007 | Hector Tobar and Alex Renderos, Special to The Times
For more than a week, Guatemalans and Salvadorans have been in the grip of a murky and gruesome mystery story born of Central America's criminal underworld. It began on the night of Feb. 19, with an SUV burning on a rural road outside Guatemala City. The charred bodies of three Salvadoran legislators and their driver were found at the scene. Among them was Eduardo Jose D'Aubuisson, the son of one of El Salvador's most notorious right-wing leaders.
WORLD
June 26, 2008 | Ken Ellingwood, Times Staff Writer
Like a prizefighter nearing the ring, Mauricio Funes strides through a gantlet of feverish fans. Booming speakers blare an old left-wing political anthem while a fluttering canopy of red campaign banners lends a celebratory air to this sweltering farm town. It is an intoxicating moment for Funes, a presidential candidate, and his flag-waving backers from the Salvadoran left. In what would be an improbable turn, Funes could be the next leader of this famously conservative country.
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