- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Former Mexican President de la Madrid dead at age 77
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, who led Mexico from 1982 to 1988 during economic crisis and a devasting earthquake, died Sunday at age 77, President FelipeCalderon announced on his Twitter account.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Calderon’s office speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to be quoted by the press confirmed Sunday that the message was posted by Mr. Calderon.
The cause of death was not immediately announced, but the former president had been hospitalized for respiratory problems since late last year.
Several false rumors about Mr. de la Madrid’s death surfaced in December, and Mr. Calderon even sent an incorrect tweet on his official Twitter account at that time offering condolences to the former president’s family. He corrected that earlier false report minutes later.
His term from 1982 to 1988 was a grim time for most Mexicans, a six-year hangover after spending binge by the previous government that was convinced that soaring oil prices would never fall. When they did, the buying power of Mexican salaries was slashed in half as inflation chewed up paychecks.
A magnitude-8.1 earthquake killed an estimated 9,000 people and flattened parts of the capital. A fiery explosion at a government gas facility killed more than 500 people on the outskirts of Mexico City. The government’s handling of the election to replace Mr. de la Madrid caused a political scandal that later helped topple the political system that had dominated Mexico for most of the 20th century.
But the initial economic panic was so deep that many thought Mr. de la Madrid did well just by not making things worse.
As he put it just before leaving office, “I took a country with great problems and leave it with problems.”
Mr. de la Madrid also launched a historic free-market transformation of Mexico’s economy. He sold off about 750 of the 1,155 companies the government had owned when he took office and signed international free-trade treaties that paved the way for the North American Free Trade Agreement and helped Mexico develop into a global industrial power, although one overwhelmingly dependent on the United States.
Born on Dec. 12, 1934, to a prominent family in the western city of Colima, Mr. de la Madrid earned a degree from the National Autonomous University's law school, a spawning ground of Mexican politicians, and later earned a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University.
He began a rapid but unflashy climb through government agencies, serving in a series of finance-related posts before joining the Cabinet of President Jose Lopez Portillo as secretary of planning and programming in 1979.
Like all presidents to that time, Lopez Portillo was unchallenged master of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, and the country as a whole. He chose Mr. de la Madrid, a 47-year-old bureaucrat who had never held elective office, as his successor and forced party activists who favored a more savvy politician to accept it.
In the pro-forma vote that followed, Mr. de la Madrid won more than 75 percent of the vote. It was the last time that the result of a Mexican presidential election could be seen as inevitable.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow