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Ernesto Zedillo

Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León

President of Mexico
In office
December 1, 1994 – November 30, 2000
Preceded by Carlos Salinas
Succeeded by Vicente Fox

Born December 27 1951 (1951-12-27) (age 60)
Mexico City, Mexico
Political party Institutional Revolutionary Party
Spouse Nilda Patricia Velasco
Religion Roman Catholic

Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León (born December 27, 1951) was President of Mexico from 1994 to 2000.


Early life

Ernesto Zedillo was born on December 27, 1951 in Mexico City. His parents were Rodolfo Zedillo Castillo, a mechanic, and Martha Alicia Ponce de León. The last of the uninterrupted seventy year line of Mexican presidents from the National Revolutionary Party to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Zedillo is one of the technocrat presidents of Mexico, most of them never elected by popular vote, but who instead advanced in bureaucratic rank from administration to administration. Economist by profession for the National Polytechnic Institute, Zedillo earned his Ph.D. at Yale University and returned to Mexico to start a career in finance, occupying various posts in the ruling PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) and in the Bank of Mexico. In 1988, at the age of thirty-six, he was named the Secretary of Budget and Planning by the President Carlos Salinas. In 1992, he became the Secretary of Public Education and resigned from the post a year later to run the electoral campaign of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI's presidential candidate.

1994 election

Main article: Mexican general election, 1994

In 1994 after Colosio's assassination, Zedillo became one of the few PRI members eligible under Mexican law to take his place, since he had not occupied public office for some time.

The opposition blamed Colosio's murder on Salinas. Although the PRI's presidential candidates were always chosen by the current president, and thus Colosio had originally been Salinas' candidate, their political relationship had been affected by a famous speech during the campaign in which Colosio said that Mexico had many problems. It is also notable that the assassination took place after Colosio visited the members of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas and promised to open dialogue, something the PRI opposed. After Colosio's murder, this speech was seen as the main cause of his break with Salinas. The choice of Zedillo was interpreted as Salinas's way of bypassing the strong Mexican political tradition of non-reelection and retaining real power, since Zedillo was not really a politician, but an economist (like Salinas), who clearly lacked Salinas's political talent and influence. It is unclear if Salinas had attempted to control Colosio, who was generally considered at that time to be a far better candidate.


After winning the election in 1994 (in the cleanest contest at that time), Zedillo was regarded by many as a puppet-president. But after the December Mistake, which, although blamed on Salinas, occurred during his administration, he governed with relative ease, relying on the PRI tradition of loyalty to the current president. Any rumors of obedience to Salinas finished when Raúl Salinas, the "inconvenient brother" of the ex-president was convicted of murder.

In 2000 Zedillo recognized the electoral victory of opposition candidate Vicente Fox before midnight on election day, paving the way for what seemed an unlikely change of power. For this reason some PRI members consider him a traitor, claiming that the election was too close to admit defeat so soon and that, in any event, the concession should have come from the PRI's candidate, Francisco Labastida, and not the incumbent president.


  After leaving office, Zedillo has held many jobs as an economic consultant in many international companies and organizations. As president, he maintained a low profile, with little scandal or accusations of corruption, though his role in the December Mistake is still questioned – he is thought by many to be too good an economist to have done such a poor job of devaluing the peso.

His political motto was Bienestar para tu familia (Wellbeing for your family), still the butt of jokes and irony because of the deep economic crisis caused by the December Mistake. His most lasting act of government was the creation of Progresa, a poverty-fighting program based on subsidizing the poorest families provided their children go to school, later eulogised by the next president, Vicente Fox, who nicknamed it Oportunidades.

At one public meeting of the World Economic Forum he coined the term globaliphobic to refer to globalization detractors. The term became widely used in Mexico, and was quickly countered by globaliphiliac.

Zedillo currently works at Yale University in the United States, where he teaches economics and heads the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. He is an advisory board member of the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management. He is also a member of the board of directors of Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific, Alcoa, and Electronic Data Systems. Mr. Zedillo is also a member of the Coca-Cola Company International Advisory Board. Union Pacific owns some of the railroads that Zedillo privatized while being President of México[citation needed].

Two massacres took place during the presidency of Zedillo: Aguas Blancas and Acteal. It was strongly suspected that top officers within Zedillo's cabinet were involved[citation needed], but none of them were ever indicted.

Member of the Club of Madrid[1]. [1]

See also

  • Cabinet of Ernesto Zedillo
Preceded by
Carlos Salinas
President of Mexico
Succeeded by
Vicente Fox
Preceded by
Luis Donaldo Colosio
PRI presidential candidate
1994 (won)
Succeeded by
Francisco Labastida
Preceded by
Manuel Bartlett
Secretary of Education
Succeeded by
Fernando Solana
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ernesto_Zedillo". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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