Hugo Martínez was born in 1968 in the canton of Boquín, municipality of Polorós, department of La Unión (the eastern most in the country). He moved to the Capital in 1987 to pursue academic goals on the advice of his parents, both of them teachers of the only school in his town. He joined the protests of the students social movements during the military dictatorship that governed El Salvador, becoming in 1988 the General Secretary of the Salvadoran Agronomic Sciences Student Society. From there, he became a member of the Students’ General Association of the University of El Salvador and presided over several specialized commissions. When the Salvadoran civil war ended, he became the first National Coordinator of the Youth branch of the Farabundo Martí Front for the Nation Liberation (FMLN).
He graduated with a degree in Engineering from the University of El Salvador, located in the Capital. He holds a Masters in Engineering of Training and Employment Systems from the University of Toulouse, France, a Masters in Administration and Business Management from the “Doctor José Simeón Cañas” Central American University in El Salvador, and a Master in Administration and Human Resources from the Latin-American University of Science and Technology in Costa Rica.
He studied Senior Management at the Central American Institute of Business Administration, INCAE, in Costa Rica, and at the “Doctor José Simeón Cañas” Central America University in El Salvador as well as in different internships in Specialization of Knowledge of Political and Democratic Systems in the United States, Spain, and Sweden. He has performed professionally in the Top Council of Central American Universities (CSUCA), as the Director of Foreign Cooperation at the University of El Salvador, and as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador.
His parliamentary experience began in 1994 in the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador as a member of the legislative fraction of the FMLN. Upon his entry to the Salvadoran Parliament, he was part of the legislative branch leadership of the FMLN and, in the 2008-2009 period, he served as Deputy Coordinator of the FMLN parliamentary group. He performed as Chair of the Culture and Education Committee and Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Central America Integration, and Salvadorans Abroad, experience from which he also participated actively at the Forum of Presidents of Legislative Powers of Central America and the Caribbean (FOPREL), and at the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU).
On June 1, 2009, he assumed the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs, leading the Salvadoran initiative of relaunching the process of the Central American Integration, which was welcomed by all the presidents of the isthmus, and in 2010 he outlined five priority areas of work for the region: democratic security, integral risk management and climate change, social integration and fight against poverty, economic integration, and strengthening of the regional institutions.
In the second half of 2011, and under this roadmap, he conducted the various actions undertaken by the country in the framework of the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA), culminating with the celebration of the Consultative Group for the Reconstruction and Development of Central America that was held in December of 2012, showing the international community the utmost need in supporting its efforts on adaptation to climate change.
On June 27, 2013, during the XLI Summit of Heads of State and Government of SICA, Hugo Martinez was elected as Secretary General of SICA for a 4-year term. He took office on July 1, 2013. A firm believer of the dialogue of the Latin American and Caribbean nations, Hugo Martínez has strived for the integration of the Central American region and worked tirelessly in both the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) too boost the dialogue between all the nations of the hemisphere. He worked closely with the leaders and authorities of both SICA and CELAC member countries, forging stable relationships and contacts that still prevail.
On June 1, 2014, he was re-appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs as part of the cabinet of the President of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, from which he continued his efforts towards the improvement of salvadorans, especially those abroad, serving on this position until 2018. At the end of his career in the Ministry he had received decorations by the governments of: Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Spain, Guatemala, Italy, Panama, Peru, the Republic of China (Taiwan), as well as by the General Secretariat of SICA, for his efforts in favor of regional integration and the strengthening of bilateral relations.