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El Salvador leader turns palace into museum

President Sanchez Ceren gives up official residence, turning into a museum and arts centre to reflect national identity.

Last updated: 07 Jul 2014 07:13
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Sanchez Ceren and Margarita Villalta will remain in their family home [REUTERS]

El Salvador's president has turned his official residence, a palatial building in a wealthy area of the capital San Salvador, into a museum and arts centre for the poor and disadvantaged.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren reopened the building on Sunday, describing it as a place where people can reflect on their country and its artistic wealth.

A statement said the building welcomed the poor and excluded, and was a "place to gather and reflect on El Salvador's identity and everyday life".

The former rebel commander has decided to live in his family home in a middle-class area of the city.

Members of human rights groups and relatives of those killed in the country's civil war also attended the opening, the AFP news agency reported. Media were not invited, the agency added.

The president and first lady, Margarita Villalta de Sanchez, displayed 45 works by Salvadoran artists at the opening.

Sanchez Ceren took office on June 1 after defeating the conservative candidate, Norman Quijano, by less than a quarter of a percentage point in a March election.

He is the fourth former left-wing rebel leader to be elected president in Latin America after Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Jose Mujica in Uruguay, and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil.

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