Joaquín Villalobos is a Salvadoran economist, former politician, and former guerrilla leader.
Villalobos was one of the main leaders of the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP) a group that emerged in El Salvador in the early 1970s. An economics student and left-wing activist, Villalobos joined the ERP in 1971, at the age of 19. In 1980, the EPN joined with four other organizations to become the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Villalobos rose to become one of the FMLN’s main military strategists. He subsequently played a major role in the negotiations that ended the civil war.
As a result of the 1992 peace accords, the FMLN was legalized as a political party. Villalobos remained a member until 1995, when he and other former leaders of the ERP split from the FMLN to form a new centrist political party, the Democratic Party. Later in the 1990s, Villalobos went to England to study at St Antony’s College, Oxford University on a scholarship funded by the British Foreign Office.
Villalobos has served as a consultant on peacemaking efforts in other countries (Colombia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Bosnia, Northern Ireland), and as an advisor to the Center of Cooperation Initiatives for Development at the University of Alcalá de Henares.
He is currently a Visiting Scholar at St. Antony’s College of Oxford University.