México 2010 / English version

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orn in Jiquilpan, Michoacán, to Dámaso Cárdenas and Felícitas del Río, Lázaro Cárdenas comes from a middle-class background but the early death of his father forces him to work after finishing elementary school.



               In 1913, Cárdenas joins the revolutionary movement. After the Aguascalientes Convention, he becomes a follower of Francisco Villa and in 1915 he joins the Constitutionalist movement.

               Cárdenas becomes brigadier general in 1920, the year in which he assumes control of the government of Michoacán. Long before, he had met Plutarco Elías Calles. Between 1920 and 1930, he is in contact with oil companies and becomes aware of their attitudes and the social and economical problems related to that industry. He is elected governor of Michoacán.

               His main concerns become evident at that time: education, agriculture, unions for workers and peasants, the promotion of a sense of civic responsibility, etc. He becomes secretary of government and later secretary of war. Cárdenas also becomes the president of the National Revolutionary Party and that party’s presidential candidate.

               Lázaro Cárdenas becomes president on December 1, 1934. Early in his term, it seems that General Plutarco Elías Calles will continue to influence national affairs, but Cárdenas soon begins to make his own mark: unions are organized and become very important. Strikes break out, alarming business owners. The left wing of the Senate is strengthened. Calles goes to Sinaloa and then to California. He returns to organize the opposition, but is forced to leave the country.

               Cárdenas’ foreign policy has some defining moments: In the League of Nations, Mexico protests Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and Hitler’s invasion of Austria, and supports the republican Spanish government. And on March 18, 1938, President Cárdenas decrees the expropriation of the oil companies.

               Cárdenas gives the national railroad to the workers to administer. He begins the sports-oriented parades that have been held every year since then on November 20. He is secretary of national defense when Mexico participates in World War II.

               In 1966, Cárdenas takes part in the Russell Tribunal, also known as International War Crimes Tribunal, organized by Bertrand Russell against the American invasion of Vietnam. He is decorated by the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, because of his support of Ethiopia when it was invaded by Mussolini. In 1955, Cárdenas is granted the international Stalin Peace Award.

               Lázaro Cárdenas dies in Mexico City in 1970 and is buried in the monument to the Revolution.




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