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José López Portillo

José López Portillo

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José López Portillo y Pacheco (June 16, 1920 – February 17, 2004) was the President of Mexico
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

 from 1976 to 1982.

Born in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, López Portillo studied Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

 (UNAM) before beginning his political career with the Institutional Revolutionary Party
Institutional Revolutionary Party
The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for more than 70 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution , making Mexico one of the few...

 (PRI) in 1959.
He held several positions in the administrations of his two predecessors before being appointed to serve as finance minister under Luis Echeverría
Luis Echeverría
Luis Echeverría Álvarez served as President of Mexico from 1970 to 1976.-Early history:Echeverría joined the faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1947 and taught political theory...

, a close friend, from 1973 to 1975.

López Portillo undertook an ambitious program to promote Mexico's economic development with revenues stemming from the discovery of new petroleum reserves in the states of Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

 and Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

 by Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the country's publicly owned oil company.

López Portillo undertook actions which were highly controversial with respect to the international banking establishment. One of his last actions as president, announced during his annual State of the Nation address on September 1, 1982, was to order the nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of the country's banking system
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

.

López Portillo was the last nationalist president to emerge from the ranks of the PRI
Institutional Revolutionary Party
The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for more than 70 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution , making Mexico one of the few...

. Subsequent presidents have all been advocates of free trade (librecambismo).

His opponents internationally and domestically accused López Portillo of "rampant corruption," "excessive overseas borrowing," galloping inflation (which continued with his successor), and responsibility for devaluations of the peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

.

His obituary in the New York Times referred to his well publicized generosity toward his one time mistress, Rosa Luz Alegría
Rosa Luz Alegría
Rosa Luz Alegría Escamilla is a Mexican physicist who was the first woman to serve in the Mexican Executive Cabinet.Alegría studied physics in the National Autonomous University of Mexico...

 as "a symbol of the era's political decadence". He bought her a US$2 million mansion in Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history...

.

Presidential succession


In the year leading to the end of his term as president, December 1, 1982, López Portillo personally chose two candidates as possibilities to replace himself, following the succession ritual established by the PRI
Institutional Revolutionary Party
The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for more than 70 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution , making Mexico one of the few...

 party. One, Javier García Paniagua would be the appointed one if a man of greater political skill were needed, and the other, ultimately his successor Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado was chosen for his financial and administrative skills, deemed much more necessary after the devaluation of the peso in February 1982 and the subsequent economic crisis.

Personal



In 1995, López Portillo married his long time mistress, the Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

n-born actress Sasha Montenegro
Sasha Montenegro
Sasha Montenegro is a Mexican-Italian born actress.Aleksandra Aćimović Popović ,as a child she moved to Argentina with her parents before relocating to Mexico. She became an actress in the 1970s and made several lucha libre movies, some of them with superstar El Santo...

. They had two children but separated years later. Legal battles erupted between Montenegro and the children from his first marriage, to Carmen Romano
Carmen Romano
Carmen Romano de López Portillo was the First Lady of Mexico from 1976 - 1982. She was the spouse of Mexican president José López Portillo....

. As of 2005 legal battles over the fortune of the ex-president continue. It is claimed that López Portillo and Sasha Montenegro
Sasha Montenegro
Sasha Montenegro is a Mexican-Italian born actress.Aleksandra Aćimović Popović ,as a child she moved to Argentina with her parents before relocating to Mexico. She became an actress in the 1970s and made several lucha libre movies, some of them with superstar El Santo...

 were lovers when he was President, and that her relationship with the President gave her considerable support in building her career farther into the 1980s.

He was the brother of late Mexican novelist Margarita López Portillo who died on May 8, 2006 of natural causes. She was the Director of all Film and Radio as well as Television under her brother and fairly responsible for the corruption of the time in many areas of the entertainment industry, which included the protection of Sasha Montenegro
Sasha Montenegro
Sasha Montenegro is a Mexican-Italian born actress.Aleksandra Aćimović Popović ,as a child she moved to Argentina with her parents before relocating to Mexico. She became an actress in the 1970s and made several lucha libre movies, some of them with superstar El Santo...

 from the Press
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 and her future in-laws.

He was the great-great-great grandson of José María Narváez
José María Narváez
José María Narváez was a Spanish naval officer, explorer, and navigator notable for his work in the Pacific Northwest of present-day Canada. In 1791, as commander of the schooner Santa Saturnina, he led the first European exploration of the Strait of Georgia, including a landing on present-day...

 (1768–1840), a Spanish explorer who was the first to enter Georgia Strait in present-day British Columbia and the first to view the site now occupied by the city of Vancouver.

In 1980, during his presidency, Mexico joined Venezuela in the pact of San Jose whose purpose was to sell oil to Central American and Caribbean states at preferential rates.

Works

  • Génesis y teoría del Estado moderno (1965).
  • Quetzalcóatl (1965).
  • Don Q (1975, reimpresiones en 1976 y 1987).
  • Ellos vienen... La conquista de México (1987).
  • Mis tiempos (2 tomos, 1988).
  • Umbrales (1997).
  • El súper PRI (2002).

Quotations

¡Defenderé el peso como un perro! – "I will defend the peso like a dog!" It earned him the nickname 'El perro' (The dog) and having people barking at him. 1981.

Ya nos saquearon. México no se ha acabado. ¡No nos volverán a saquear! – "We have already been ransacked. Mexico is not finished. They will not ransack us again!" September 1, 1982.

¡Mi hijo es el orgullo de mi nepotismo! – "My son is the pride of my nepotism."

En el mundo de la economía los paises se dividen en dos: los que tienen petróleo y los que no lo tienen. ¡Y nosotros lo tenemos! – "In the world of economy, countries are divided in two: those that have oil and those that don't have it. And we have it!"

¡Vamos a administrar la abundancia! – "We are going to manage abundance!"

External links