Former President Francisco Flores Pérez

Former President of El Salvador, Francisco Flores Pérez, is an Amherst alum!  He majored in Political Science at Amherst, and then went on to study at Harvard and Oxford University.  He served as President of El Salvador from 1999 until 2004. 

Flores’s government was closely aligned with that of the United States.  He authorized the deployment of Salvadoran troops to Iraq in support of U.S. forces, negotiated a successful free-trade agreement between the U.S. and the Central American region, and orchestrated the change from the historical El Salvadorian currency, the colón, to the American dollar.

Dollarization was very beneficial to the country’s business establishment.  It brought about reduced interest rates because currency-exchange risks were eliminated.  It also made trade easier, and helped integrate El Salvador into the global economy.  On the other hand, the switch to dollars caused long-term inflation because prices were rounded upwards.