Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Cárdenas and the second or maternal family name is Solórzano.
Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas
Confío en la palabra del PRI respecto a Pemex Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (8434851979).jpg
Cárdenas in 2013
1st Head of Government of the Federal District
In office
Preceded by Óscar Espinosa Villarreal
Succeeded by Rosario Robles
Personal details
Born Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano
(1934-05-01) May 1, 1934 (age 82)
Mexico City
Political party PRI (to 1989),
PRD (1989 to 2014)
Independent (2014 to present)
Spouse(s) Celeste Batel
Children Cuauhtémoc, Camila and Lazaro Cardenas Batel
Alma mater Colegio Williams
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Occupation Engineer
Profession Civil Engineer

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano (Spanish pronunciation: [kwauˈtemok ˈkarðenas]; born May 1, 1934) is a prominent Mexican politician. He was a former Head of Government of the Federal District and a founder of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

Early life and career[edit]

He was born in Mexico City, the son of President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río and Amalia Solórzano, and studied at Colegio Williams. He is named for the last Aztec emperor Cuauhtémoc.

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas served as a senator for the state of Michoacán from 1974 to 1980 and as governor of that same state from 1980 to 1986. He won election to these two posts as a member of the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

In 1987, he and other politicians from the PRI announced the creation of the Corriente Democrática ("Democratic Current") within the party to discuss a change in the process traditionally used to nominate the PRI's candidate for the presidency. There was an extralegal rule called '"el dedazo," the incumbent president's unwritten and exclusive right to designate his successor. (The expression was a reference to the action of pointing with a finger to the successor.). The Current nominated Cárdenas as its candidate. Some left the Current and the supporters of Cárdenas were ostracized and expelled from the PRI. He received the support of several small left-wing parties and was the 1988 presidential candidate of the Frente Democrático Nacional (National Democratic Front), a loose alliance of these organizations.

On July 6, 1988, the day of the elections, a system shutdown of the IBM AS/400 that the government was using to count the votes occurred. The government simply stated that se cayó el sistema ("the system crashed"), to refer to the incident. When the system was finally restored, Carlos Salinas was declared the official winner. The elections became extremely controversial, and even though some declare that Salinas won legally, the expression se cayó el sistema became a colloquial euphemism for electoral fraud. It was the first time in 59 years, from the creation of PRI to that point (1929–1988), that the winning of the presidency by that party was in doubt, and the citizens of Mexico realized that PRI could lose.

Cárdenas in 2002

The following year (May 5, 1989), Cárdenas and other leading center-left and leftist politicians, including Francisco Arellano-Belloc, formally founded the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). He was this new party's candidate in the 1994 presidential election, in which he placed third, trailing the PRI and PAN candidates, with 17% of the national vote.

In 1997 he was the PRD's candidate for the newly created post of Head of Government (Jefe de Gobierno) of the Federal District – effectively, a role lying somewhere between that of Mexico City's mayor and a state governorship. He won this election, held on July 6, 1997, with a 47.7% share of the popular vote.

He resigned in 1999 (and was succeeded by one of his allies, Rosario Robles), to run for the presidency again in 2000, in which he was again placed third, with a 17% share.

On November 25, 2014 Cárdenas announced that he was leaving the PRD. He had been a longtime senior member of the PRD, and was considered the 'moral leader' of this party. Many in Mexico see his departure from the PRD as a product of the party's internal fighting and mounting identity crisis.

Cuahtemoc Cardenas Role in the 1995 Zapatista Crisis[edit]


During the investigative stage to identify Subcomandante Marcos, the Mexican government speculated that he was a dangerous guerrilla fighter. This theory gain much traction At the end of 1994, after the dissident Zapatista Comandante Salvador Morales Garibay give away the identity of his former fellow Zapatistas to the Mexican government, among them Marcos identity.[1] They all were indicted for terrorism, warrants were issued arrest where made in a military action. The Mexican government alleges some Zapatistas to be terrorists, among them Marcos.[2] There was a storm of political pressures claiming for a fast military solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis. On February 9, 1995, in a televised special Presidential broadcast, President Ernesto Zedillo announced Subcomandante Marcos to be one Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, born June 19, 1957 in Tampico, Tamaulipas to Spanish immigrants. An Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana School of Sciences and Arts for the Design former Professor. And after the government revealed Marcos identity in January 1995, when Rafael Guillén, old friend, classmate with the Jesuits at the Instituto Cultural Tampico, direct intervention in the conflict. Max Appedole played a major roll with the Mexican government[3] to avoid a Military solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis. By demonstrating that contrary to the accusations announced by President Ernesto Zedillo,[4] Rafael Guillén, was no terrorist. Max Appedole recognized his literary style in all Marcos manifestos that where published in the media, linked them to their literary tournaments organized by the Jesuits in which they competed in Mexico. Confirming that he had no doubt that Marcos was his friend Rafael Guillén, a pacifist.[5] [6] [7][8][9] [10]

The Military Site[edit]

Once Subcomandante Marcos was identified as Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, on 9 February 1995, in an counterproductive, turn of events, President Ernesto Zedillo took a series of decisions that completely broke with the strategy, the action plan previously defined and the agreements he authorized his Secretary of Interior Lic Esteban Moctezuma to compromise with Marcos just 3 days before in Guadalupe Tepeyac. To the opposite extreme to send the Mexican army to capture or annihilate Marcos. This without consulting his Secretary of Interior; without even knowing exactly who Marcos was; with the PGR single presumption that Marcos was a dangerous guerrilla, President Ernesto Zedillo decided to launch a military offence to capture or annihilate Marcos and the Zapatistas.[11] Arrest warrants where made against Marcos, Javier Elorriaga Berdegue, Silvia Fernández Hernández, Jorge Santiago, Fernando Yanez, German Vicente, Jorge Santiago and other Zapatistas. At the Lacandon Jungle, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation was under the Mexican Army military siege. The PGR was after them. Javier Elorriaga got captured on February 9, 1995, in a military garrison at Gabina Velázquez in Las Margaritas town and later taken to the Cerro Hueco prison in Tuxtla Gutiérrez Chiapas.[12] On February 11, 1995 the PGR informed they made an operative in the State of Mexico, where they capture 14 persons presumed to be involved with the Zapatistas of which 8 already being turned to the Judicial Authorities and sized an important arsenal.[13] The PGR repressive acts got to the extreme of pressuring the San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas Catholic Bishop, Samuel Ruiz García of arresting him for aiding to conceal the Zapatistas guerrilla activity. Even though this activity was public years before the uprising in Proceso among Mexico most important magazines and it was the Mexican Government who was for years trying to disguise it.[14][15] And with no consideration to the political consequences of hurting with no legal reason, the recently restored and already seriously damaged, Mexico Vatican diplomatic relations[16] because of the May 24, 1993 political assassination of a Prince of the Catholic Church, the Guadalajara, Mexico Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo that precisely that Agency the PGR has left it unsolved.

Marcos resolve was put to the test, in his camp in the Lacandon Jungle when the Zapatistas were under the Mexican Army military siege. Marcos response was immediate, sending Esteban Moctezuma the following message: "See you in hell". Conflicting signals got strengthened in favor of a fast military solution. The facts seemed to confirm Manuel Camacho Solis June 16, 1994 accusations that the reason for his resignation as the Chiapas Peace Commissioner, was due to sabotage done by the presidential candidate Ernesto Zedillo.

Under the big political pressure of a highly radicalized situation Mexico Secretary of the Interior Lic. Esteban Moctezuma believed a peaceful solution was possible, he champion to reach a peacefully negotiated solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis. betting it all on a creative strategy to reestablish the Mexican Government Zapatista Army of National Liberation dialog to search for peace by demonstrating Marcos natural peace vocation and the terrible consequences of a military solution. Making a strong position against the February 9 actions against Peace, Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma defender of a political solution, to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis. submit his resignation to the President Ernesto Zedillo which he does not accept it and asks the Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma to try the improbable task of restoring the Conditions for dialog to reach a negotiation. For these foregoing reasons the Mexican army, ease actions, giving an opportunity that Marcos capitalized to escape the military site emplaced in the Lacandon Jungle. Faced with this situation, Max Appedole, Rafael Guillén, childhood friend and colleague, at the Jesuits College Instituto Cultural Tampico asked for help from Edén Pastora the legendary Nicaraguan "Commander Zero" to prepare a report for under-Secretary of the Interior Luis Maldonado; the Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma and the President Ernesto Zedillo about Marcos natural pacifist vocation and the terrible consequences of a tragic outcome. The document concluded that the marginalized groups and the radical left that exist in México, have been vented with the Zapatistas movement, while Marcos maintains an open negotiating track. Eliminate Marcos and his social containment work will not only would cease, but will give opportunity to the radical groups to take control of the movement. They will response to violence with violence. They would begin the terrorist bombings, kidnappings and belligerent activities. The country would be in a very dangerous spiral, which could lead to very serious situations because not only there is discomfort in Chiapas, but in many places in Mexico. »[17]

Presidential Decree for the Dialog, the Reconciliation, and a peace with dignity in Chiapas Law[edit]

On March 10, 1995 President Ernesto Zedillo and Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma sign the Presidential Decree for the Dialog, the Reconciliation and a peace with dignity in Chiapas Law. It was discussed and approved by the Mexican Congress. »[18]

Restoration of the peace talks[edit]

With the direct intervention of Cuauhtémoc Cardenas, it was possible to make contact. It was the night of April 3, 1995 precisely at 8:55 pm when the first meeting between representatives of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation which had declared war on the Mexican State the first minute of 1994, and the representatives of the government of President Ernesto Zedillo. His Secretary of Interior, Lic. Esteban Moctezuma, had sent a high rank officer, who delivered a letter to representatives of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who did not lose radio communication, with Marcos. The letter expressed the Secretary of Interior commitment with a political path to resolve the conflict. The messenger was Luis Maldonado Mexico under Secretary of Interior.[19] This was how the April 3, 1995 in Prado Pacayal, Chiapas a place located in the Lacandon Jungle near Ocosingo, the secret negotiations prior to restart the dialog between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Mexican government were initiated, this happened with Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel as witness of honor for the negotiations between Marcos and Luis Maldonado, Mexico under Secretary of the Interior on behalf of Lic Esteban Moctezuma Mexico Secretary of the Interior. These negotiations took place with the purpose of establishing parameters and base for the peace dialog between the parties. After several days of unfruitful negotiations, without reaching any specific agreements, it was very early in the morning nonstop in to the next day., in a strategically calculated move, as a conclusion Luis Maldonado proposed a definitive suspension of hostilities and measures of distention always proportionally higher to the Mexican government to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation On his way out, Luis Maldonado said:

"If you do not accept this, it will be regretted not having made the installation of the formal dialog in the time established by the Peace Talks Law".

Marcos took this as a direct threat, so he did no longer reply. The Subcomandante Marcos gave a message to the Witness of Honor Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel: "You have been witness to the fact that we have not threatened or assaulted these people, they have been respected in their person, property, their liberty and life. You have witnessed that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation has a word and has honor; you have also been witness to our willingness to engage in dialog. Thank you for taking the trouble to come all the way down here and have contributed with your effort to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, we hope that you will continue contributing in this effort to avoid war and you and your family, continue accepting to be witnesses of honor in this dialog and negotiation process." Finally, he asked the witness of honor to accompany Secretary Moctezuma negotiator Luis Maldonado in his way out, all the way to Ocosingo, to verify they are leaving well and unharmed. (The April 7, 1995 meeting ended at 4:00 a.m.).[20]


Without much hope of dialog, it was already in hostile conditions as the Secretary of Interior negotiator Luis Maldonado began his return to Mexico City. When passing by the Ejido San Miguel a patrol of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation beckons them to stop, surprised without even knowing what was happening, he was handed a radio, by means of which Mexico under-Secretary of Interior Luis Maldonado achieved with the Subcomandante Marcos the re-initiation of the Dialog with all the necessary agreements in accordance with the Law to start the formal Peace Talks dialog between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Mexican government. The charismatic leader of the Zapatistas the Marcos led the Zapatistas movement to leave arms a side and start the dialog for a peace agreement.[21] [22]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Head of Government of the Federal District
Succeeded by
Rosario Robles
Preceded by
President of the Party of the Democratic Revolution
Succeeded by
Roberto Robles Garnica