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Lopez Portillo, the worst president of Mexico?

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hugoestr View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 01:10
Okay, the title didn't let me say this:

The worst president of Mexico of the post-revolutionary period?

My vote for that is Lopez Portillo, the Bush of Mexico: the person who brought down a nation that he received with wealth and destroyed the middle class and the economy on his wake.

Lopez Portillo was president from 1976 to 1982. During his presidency he got the bulk of the oil windfall for Mexico, spent/stole a huge amount of money, and then helped deliver the country into a long-term recession which the country hasn't really recovered from.

In just 6 years, thanks to his economic mismanagement, he burned through oil profits and delivered the country into a huge foreign debt. Then the price of oil fell in the early 80s, the currency was due to fall. And like all good Mexican leaders, he and his circle of friends were busy telling everyone they knew that the Mexican currency was going to fall hard, so you better liquidate your assets and buy dollars and put them in foreign banks.


This nice move meant the capital fled from Mexico all of the sudden. It also meant that many owners of businesses just sold out to try to retain some of their money since they believed they were going to lose it all. There were a few business men who did believe in Mexico, and they bought up their companies. One of them was called Carlos Slim.


This move also hurt the national banks so much that they had to be bailed out through a nonsensical "nationalization" of the banks which wasn't asked for and didn't make sense when they were practically bankrupt in any case. Oh, I forgot, he was bailing out his buddies! So he got the nation to buy their bankrupted businesses.


The precarious economic situation set the stage for the hyper-inflation of 1987-88, and helped push the neoliberal agenda on Mexico, which was conducted with a lot of corruption, so instead of breaking up monopolies to create competing companies, they tended to sell the whole monopoly together, and even granted them several years of legal monopoly protection.

If there was any single president that helped push Mexico into a democracy, it was Lopez Portillo. His mismanagement was so evidently bad that it encouraged business people to join PAN rather than stay in PRI to create an alternative. This was especially the case in central Mexico, el Bajio, and Northern Mexico (this regional note was brought to you by Drgonzaga )

But I can be wrong. Some people will point out to Salinas, who mismanaged the privatization process to give little fiefdoms to his buddies. Salinas also refused to adjust the real value of the Peso for months before the presidential election of 1994, which after the election was over was quickly let to float to the market. (This also cause another great flight of capital: he and Zedillo, the new president, told their buddies that the Mexican currency was going to tank again!)

However, Salinas wouldn't have been able to do this without the stage put in place by Lopez Portillo.

But I can be wrong. If you disagree, nominate your favorite one.
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Mixcoatl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mixcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 14:48
Some more of his antics:
Several of his family members and closest aides were scientologists. He allowed Mexican government organizations to promote Scientology, amongst others on the Interntational Airport, and occasionly civil servants were sent to Scientology traning seminars in California

He was a personal friend of notorious conspiracy kook Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche later claimed that when López Portillo ceased Mexico's debt payments and nationalized the banks he did so on his suggestion.

The López Portillo administration hired Uri Geller to look for oil fields in the Gulf of Campeche.

López Portillo was notorious for his corruption, creating cabinet-level positions to stuff them with family and friends. His sister was named head of the national cinema organization, even though she had no background in film. His mistress Rosa Luz Alegría (former wife of the son of ex president Luis Echeverría) was named secretary of tourism. But the most notorious case was without any doubt his high school friend Arturo "El Negro" Durazo, police chef of Mexico City. Durazo basically turned Mexico City's police into a vast extortion and drug trafficking racket. He had had two large mansions built on taxpayers' costs by police officers, on in Morelos and one in Zihuantanejo. when a friend of Durazo murdered the former governor of Nayarit he had an innocent person framed and jailed for the crime. He also received a honorary degree in law and was named division general, without having had any legal or military merits whatsoever.

Edited by Mixcoatl - 08 Oct 2009 at 14:49
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drgonzaga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2009 at 00:57
Come now folks? What of Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado and Carlos Salinas de Gortari? Between the both of them, the entire edifice of the PRI disintegrated entirely. Ernesto Zedillo had the misfortune to preside at its funeral. Poor Lopez Portillo may be considered the Jimmy Carter of Mexican politics given that events out of his control dominated his presidency. Only the oil crisis of the 70s hid the fundamental financial dislocations of the system and permitted the hiding of critical problems in national policy. OK I am a totally tongue-in-cheek over this admirable representative of Los Altos de Jalisco...but hey sales of Tequila rocketed as high as all of those familiars hauling in the green...
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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hugoestr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2009 at 02:19
That was a great post, drgonzaga
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