Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas

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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 81)
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.

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