Miguel Alemán Valdés

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"Miguel Aleman" redirects here. For other people and places, see Miguel Alemán (disambiguation).
Miguel Alemán
Miguel Aleman.jpg
Seal of the Government of Mexico.svg
46th President of Mexico
In office
December 1, 1946 – November 30, 1952
Preceded by Manuel Ávila Camacho
Succeeded by Adolfo Ruiz Cortines
Governor of Veracruz
In office
December 1, 1936 – April 6, 1939
Preceded by Ignacio Herrera Tejeda
Succeeded by Fernando Casas Alemán
Personal details
Born Miguel Alemán Valdes
(1900-09-29)September 29, 1900
Sayula, Veracruz, Mexico
Died May 14, 1983(1983-05-14) (aged 82)
Mexico City, Mexico
Nationality Mexican
Political party Institutional Revolutionary Party
Spouse(s) Beatriz Velasco (1913-1981)

Miguel Alemán Valdés (Spanish pronunciation: [miˈɣel aleˈman]; September 29, 1900[1] – May 14, 1983) served as the President of Mexico from 1946 to 1952.


Alemán was born in Sayula in the state of Veracruz[2] as the son of General Miguel Alemán González and Tomasa Valdés Ledezma. As a child, he was not permitted to attend school in his home town, due to his father's political beliefs (he was a former revolutionary general), but he did study in other areas instead. He attended the National Preparatory School in Mexico City from 1920 to 1925, and then went to the National School of Law until 1928, completing his law degree with his thesis on occupational diseases and accidents among workers. As a successful attorney, his first practice was in representing miners suffering from silicosis. He won two notable legal victories in defending workers against corporations. The first was in securing compensation for dependents of railroad workers who were killed in revolutionary battles; the second was to gain indemnities for miners injured at work.[3] These victories gained him great favor with Mexico's labor unions.

Representing the Party of the Mexican Revolution (an earlier name of the party later known as the PRI), he served as Senator from the state of Veracruz from 1934 to 1936. When Manlio Favio Altamirano, the governor-elect of Veracruz, was assassinated, Aleman accepted appointment as Governor of Veracruz from 1936 to 1939.[4] From 1940 to 1945, he served as Secretary of the Interior under Manuel Ávila Camacho after directing Ávila's presidential campaign. Alemán ran for President in 1946 as candidate of the PRI, and was the winner of the elections held on July 7 of that year, defeating former foreign minister Ezequiel Padilla to become the first non-military candidate to win the presidency of Mexico. He was inaugurated as President of the Republic on December 1, 1946[5] and served until 1952.

Miguel Aleman

In 1961, he was named president of the national tourist commission, and he was influential in bringing the 1968 Summer Olympics to Mexico. In addition, he was the first president of the Mr. Amigo Association in 1964, which celebrates the bi-national friendliness between the United States and Mexico in the Charro Days and Sombrero Festival celebrations held in Matamoros, Tamaulipas and Brownsville, Texas.[6]

Presidential years[edit]

Domestic Policy[edit]

Miguel Alemán Valdés in the congress

As president, Alemán pursued industrial development, increasing the extension of the nation's rail network, improving highways, and constructing a number of major schools. Also his administration constructed a new campus for the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM).[7] He also worked extensively on irrigation and farming, greatly expanding the national production of rice, sugar, bananas, coffee, oats, and pineapples. In 1947 he initiated a huge project to control floods and generate hydroelectricity in the state of Oaxaca, culminating with the opening of the Miguel Alemán Dam in 1955.[8] In 1951, he oversaw completion of the diversion of the Lerma River, bringing to an end Mexico City's water supply problems.[9] He faced the appearance of foot-and-mouth disease and killed thousands of cattle in order to contain it. He gave women the right to vote in municipal elections during his term, and in 1952 elevated Baja California to state status. He played a major role in the development and support of the city of Acapulco, which is now well known all over the world as one of the principal tourist destinations in Mexico and Latin America. Rampant political corruption and crony capitalism would mark his administration, and this would shape the relationship of politics and big business in Mexico until the present day. His successful economic policy led to talks about the “Mexican miracle”, but only a small elite benefited from economic growth. His administration took an anti-communist stance and supported the United States during the Cold War.[10]

Foreign Policy[edit]

During his administration the close relationship with United States, developed during World War II, continued although he refused to send Mexican troops to the Korean War.[11] He negotiated a major loan from the United States in 1947. Alemán and U.S. President Harry S. Truman rode in a parade in Washington that attracted an estimated 600,000 well-wishers.[12] Internationally, he signed peace agreements with Japan, Germany and Italy following World War II, had a hand in a truce between Pakistan and India, and worked with the United States on the issue of the braceros.


  1. ^ Official website of the Presideny of Mexico
  2. ^ Current Biography 1946 Yearbook, p9
  3. ^ Id.
  4. ^ Lic. Miguel Alemán Valdés
  5. ^ "Aleman Takes Oath Today, First Civilian Executive", San Antonio Express, Dec. 1, 1946, p12
  6. ^ "About Us - Mr. Amigo". Mr. Amigo Association. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Coerver, Don M. (2004). Mexico: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History. ABC-CLIO. p. 12. 
  8. ^ Gerardo Cruickshank (1972). "Some Problems of the Papaloapan River Basin". Proceedings of University Seminar on Pollution and Water Resources (Colombia University). Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  9. ^ "Water, Water Everywhere", TIME Magazine, September 17, 1951
  10. ^ Coerver, Don M. (2004). Mexico: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History. ABC-CLIO. p. 12. 
  11. ^ Coerver, Don M. (2004). Mexico: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History. ABC-CLIO. p. 12. 
  12. ^ "Aleman Greeted By Huge Throngs In Washington," AP Report, Joplin (Mo.) Globe, April 30, 1947, p1
Political offices
Preceded by
Manuel Ávila Camacho
President of Mexico
Succeeded by
Adolfo Ruiz Cortines