Today in 1920 controversial Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo was born in Mexico City, Mexico. Lopez Portillo served as president from 1976 through 1982 as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Lopez Portillo held numerous key cabinet positions in prior administrations before getting his party’s blessing to seek the presidency. Prior to his career in politics Lopez Portillo practiced law and was a professor of law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, his alma mater.
The former Mexican president is respected for increasing the size of the Chamber of Deputies to allow more minorities to represent the Mexican people – the first step in diminishing the near dictatorial powers of his PRI party. Globally he is blamed for triggering a global debt crisis when the country was not able to pay for its expansion programs and defaulting on its international debt in 1981.
Lopez Portillo is considered by many as the worse modern day Mexican president especially in economic terms. From uncontrolled spending to devaluing the peso by 40 percent to persistent corruption rumors and nepotism there is much cause for his unpopularity. He was forced to seek refuge in other countries when his presidential term ended, only returning to Mexico many years later.
Lopez Portillo died at age 83 on February 17, 2004 in Mexico City.
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