Former television journalist Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena took power as El Salvador's president on Monday, representing former Marxist guerrillas the Farabundo Martin National Liberation Front (FMLN).
During his acceptance speech he called for a new beginning for El Salvador, after 17 years of continuous rule by the right-wing National Republican Alliance (Arena), and promised a program that would create jobs and provide housing for the nation's poorest.
Before entering politics, Funes, born on Oct. 18, 1959 in San Salvador, was one of the nation's most important media figures. He became popular during his 20-year journalistic career, including a stint from 2001 to 2007 as correspondent for CNN's Spanish service.
Funes studied literature at the Jose Simeon Canas University of Central America, and launched the university's audio-visual center in 1992 after working for four different channels between 1986 and1991. He returned to TV channel Canal 12 as news director in 1997.In 2001 he served as correspondent for CNN's Spanish service till September 2007, when he was nominated as presidential candidate of FMLN.
In 1994 he was awarded the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University. Funes is married to Vanda Pignata and the couple has three sons, one of whom, photographer Alejandro Funes, was killed in Paris in 2007. Last week, Funes flew to Paris to testify in the emotional trial of his son's killer.