Raúl Héctor Castro

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This article is about the former Governor of Arizona. For the President of Cuba, see Raúl Castro. For the Bolivian footballer, see Raúl Castro Peñaloza.
Raúl Héctor Castro
Raul Castro.png
Castro pictured in La Cuesta, 1939, Northern Arizona yearbook
United States Ambassador to Argentina
In office
November 16, 1977 – July 30, 1980
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Robert Hill
Succeeded by Harry Shlaudeman
14th Governor of Arizona
In office
January 6, 1975 – October 20, 1977
Preceded by Jack Williams
Succeeded by Wesley Bolin
United States Ambassador to Bolivia
In office
September 3, 1968 – November 3, 1969
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Preceded by Douglas Henderson
Succeeded by Ernest Siracusa
United States Ambassador to El Salvador
In office
December 11, 1964 – July 17, 1968
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Murat Williams
Succeeded by William Bowdler
Personal details
Born (1916-06-12) June 12, 1916 (age 98)
Cananea, Mexico
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater Northern Arizona University
University of Arizona

Raúl Héctor Castro (born June 12, 1916) is a Mexican-born American politician. He has served in both elected and non-elected public offices, including United States Ambassador and the 14th Governor of Arizona (1975–77). He was the first Mexican American to be elected governor of Arizona. At the age of 98, he is the oldest living former United States governor following the death of Washington governor Albert Rosellini on October 10, 2011, at age 101.

Early life and education[edit]

Castro lived in his native Mexico until 1926, when he moved to the U.S. state of Arizona and later became a United States citizen. Through grueling physical labor and self-denial, he saved enough to enter Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, from which he graduated in 1939. He worked for five years for the U.S. State Department as a foreign service clerk at Agua Prieta, a border city in his native Sonora, but he never forgot his dream of becoming a lawyer. Accepted by the University of Arizona College of Law, Castro earned his Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the Arizona Bar in 1949. After practicing law in Tucson for two years, he became deputy Pima County attorney.


In 1954 he was elected county attorney and served in that capacity until 1958, when he became a Pima County Superior Court Judge. His national stature grew over the years, and President Lyndon Johnson appointed Castro as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador in 1964. After four years there, he served as Ambassador to Bolivia until the end of 1969.

Returning to Tucson, Arizona in 1969 to specialize in international law, Castro continued to rise to the top in Arizona Democratic politics. Seeking state office for the first time in 1970, he won the Democratic nomination for governor, but narrowly lost the general election to Republican incumbent Jack Williams. In 1974, Castro was elected governor. In 1977, after two years as governor, he was selected by President Jimmy Carter to be ambassador to Argentina. Castro held that post until 1980.


In 2007, Castro's alma mater, now known as Northern Arizona University, named the home of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in his honor. As a student, he competed in track and boxing for the school; he was inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the College of Social and Behavioral Science Hall of Fame in 2011.


On June 12, 2012, Castro was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol after they detected traces of radiation in his vehicle. After explaining that the radiation was due to a medical procedure from the previous day, the ex-governor was released after a short detention.[1]


Additional sources[edit]

  • Goff, John S. (1983). Arizona Biographical Dictionary. Cave Creek, Ariz.: Black Mountain Press. OCLC 10740532. 
  • Interview with R.H. Castro for the newspaper Clarín of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20 December 1998 concerning the Beagle conflict: Clarín.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Murat Williams
United States Ambassador to El Salvador
Succeeded by
William Bowdler
Preceded by
Douglas Henderson
United States Ambassador to Bolivia
Succeeded by
Ernest Siracusa
Preceded by
Robert Hill
United States Ambassador to Argentina
Succeeded by
Harry Shlaudeman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Goddard
Democratic nominee for Governor of Arizona
1970, 1974
Succeeded by
Bruce Babbitt
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Williams
Governor of Arizona
Succeeded by
Wesley Bolin
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Albert Rosellini
Oldest living American governor