8 julio, 2024

Gustavo Díaz Ordaz: who was, biography, government, contributions

Who was Gustavo Diaz Ordaz?

Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1911-1979) was a Mexican politician, member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), president of Mexico between 1964 and 1970. Ordaz’s contributions to Mexico preceded and transcended his presidency.

Ordaz worked for Mexican politics from positions as varied as government secretary, senator, and active member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

During his years in office, Díaz Ordaz maintained excellent relations with his American counterpart, Lyndon Johnson. This fact led to a time of harmony that benefited both Mexico and the United States.

Despite the contributions made by Díaz Ordaz, his time in Mexican institutions also left criticism of his management. One of the most remembered cases was his differences with the writer Carlos Fuentes, who blamed Díaz Ordaz for being responsible for the massacre that occurred in 1968 in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in Tlatelolco.

Biography of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz

Gustavo Díaz Ordaz was born on March 12, 1911 in Ciudad Serdán, formerly known as San Andrés de Chalchicomula, located in the state of Puebla. His family was of traditional tendencies that belonged to the Mexican middle class.


When he was little, his family moved to the state of Oaxaca; Gustavo completed his first studies there, at the Institute of Sciences and Arts of Oaxaca and at the Salesian College.

He studied at the University of Puebla and in 1937 obtained a law degree. The thesis thanks to which Díaz Ordaz obtained his degree was titled Complaint appeal in civil procedure.

political work

After graduating from university, Díaz Ordaz worked in different institutions, covering fields as diverse as the judicial, academic, and political sectors. These positions were increasingly complex, and he began to occupy positions from which he had influence in the context of the time.

He held various positions in the public administration, among which are the secretary of Maximino Ávila Camacho, who held the position of governor. In addition, he acted as a judge, chaired the Conciliation Board and was Secretary General of the Government in the presidential term of Gonzalo Bautista O’Farrill.

Later he was deputy in the National Congress, between 1943 and 1946; and later a senator of that same Congress, between 1946 and 1952.

Later, between 1958 and 1963, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz was Secretary of the Interior; this occurred under the presidential term of Adolfo López Mateos.

Already at that time, Díaz Ordaz was considered the main representative of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and in 1963 he ran as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic.


Left-wing parties supported Díaz Ordaz’s candidacy, one of the most relevant supports being that of General Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, since he was one of the most prominent representatives of the left wing of Mexico.

The presidential elections were held on July 5, 1964, and Díaz Ordaz obtained almost 90% of the votes, well above his other contenders: José González Torres, representative of the National Action Party (10.97%), and the representatives of the Popular Socialist (62,368 votes) and Authentic of the Revolution (43,685 votes) parties.

Gustavo Díaz Ordaz took office as president on December 1, 1964 and his administration lasted 6 years, until 1970, when new elections were held. In these elections, another PRI representative, Luis Echeverría Álvarez, was elected.

After leaving office, Díaz Ordaz was ambassador to Spain in 1977 for a short period, framed in the establishment of new relations with Spain, once the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died, after 40 years of non-existent relations.

Two years later, on July 15, 1979, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz died in Mexico City. He died of colon cancer.

Government of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz

Gustavo Díaz Ordaz served a single term in government in Mexico, between 1964 and 1970. During that time, the United States’ policy was much stricter towards Latin American countries.

This was so because the Cuban Revolution was in this context —which had been successful— and the National Liberation Guerrilla had spread through these countries with the help of the Cuban government and the Soviet bloc.

Faced with this scenario, Díaz Ordaz chose to confront the interventionist attitude of the United States, circumventing within his own territory the possibilities of maintaining Mexican foreign policy with an independent character.

defense of sovereignty

The government of Díaz Ordaz was characterized by vehemently defending both the sovereign territory of Mexico and the nation’s economic development.

One of the clearest examples of this vision of Díaz Ordaz is that he always chose to favor the benefits that the nation would receive over favorable conditions for foreign investors, especially those from the United States.

In this context, Díaz Ordaz also established that the Mexican banks should be managed by Mexican nationals, not by foreign representatives, since he considered that the banks were one of the most relevant and influential institutions in the country.

petrochemical bailout

The petrochemical industry in Mexico followed the same path, as the Díaz Ordaz government determined that only the Mexican state should be in charge of exploiting and developing this industry.

The state oil company of Mexico, PEMEX, had signed contracts with several foreign companies, through which these institutions had the power to explore, drill and exploit territories, which included areas of Veracruz, Campeche, Santecomapan and Puerto Real.

Díaz Ordaz revoked said contracts, so that the power to explore and exploit the Mexican deposits once again became exclusive to the national industry.

Social ambit

In this period, many manifestations of violence and discontent were generated among Mexican citizens. Inequalities in society became more extensive and deep.

Different unions and unions carried out demonstrations with the intention of obtaining demands. In addition, intellectuals of the time published articles and books strongly critical of the Díaz Ordaz administration. All this was a sign that the opposition to the current government was growing more and more.

Operation Great Rake

The guerrilla was another element that the Díaz Ordaz government had to face. In Chihuahua and Madero there were guerrilla uprisings that could be controlled by the administration, and in Guerrero armed uprisings were carried out led by Lucio Cabañas and Genaro Vázquez Rojas, who were teachers.

The government could not confront these last rebels; As a consequence of this hostile context, Díaz Ordaz announced the start of the so-called “Operation Great Rastrilleo”.

Several historians agree that this moment was decisive in turning the Mexican army into an anti-guerrilla institution with cruel and brutal characteristics, which had as its range of action the region of the Costa Grande de Guerrero.

In this social context, Díaz Ordaz advocated making public the idea that his government had generated the so-called «Mexican miracle», created thanks to a State that promotes and guarantees the development of the country.

This figure of the State also controlled the mass media and dealt with the uprisings through punctual and systematic repression. Díaz Ordaz described the rebels as extremist people, related to Trotskyism and communism.


The Díaz Ordaz government reformed the income tax, but did not increase it, as many other countries in the region did, but in Mexico it remained as an element with a low charge; in fact, this value became the lowest in Latin America.

On the other hand, the income tax went from being a scheduling system, characterized by the classification according to the sources that produce the income, to another that included all the income of both legal and natural persons, which did not consider the source from which it was derived. generated income.

In addition, a deduction regime was determined, thanks to which each person or company could review and evaluate which were the obligations by which it was affected.

On the other hand, Díaz Ordaz united the budgets of decentralized organizations together with that of the federal government into one; This was an action aimed at optimizing budget planning for public investment.

Emphasis on natural resources

For Díaz Ordaz, the nation’s economic development had to focus on the use of natural resources.

In fact, one of the fundamental elements of his government proposal was the reactivation of the agricultural sector, with the intention that the Mexican internal market would become increasingly stronger.

Along with the use of natural resources, Díaz Ordaz established that credits and investment participation from other countries should be an additional element, which would complement the sustaining action carried out within the country itself.


The field of mining experienced significant growth during the Díaz Ordaz government, since it grew by around 2.6% each year. Several institutions were created, such as the Lázaro Cárdenas-Las Truchas Steel Company, the Mexican Copper Company, the Mexican Petroleum Institute and the Peña Colorada Mining Consortium.

In addition, more than 200 petrochemical plants were developed and 8 refining plants were created. Regarding electrical service, during this period there were 2.5 million new consumers and many new plants began operations; Among these, the Salamanca, Topolobampo, Monterrey, Malpaso, Valle de México, Guadalajara and La Laguna plants stand out.


In the government of Díaz Ordaz there was a considerable increase in public investment. However, this did not imply a disproportionate increase in foreign debt, since the president’s position was to make use of it only in situations that generated foreign currency to help deal with said debt.

Among the main infrastructure works created in the Díaz Ordaz government are the telecommunications tower, located in the Federal District; and the Friendship Dam, located in Coahuila. In addition, a station was created to generate communication with satellites, based in the Tulancingo Valley.

More than 14,000 square kilometers of Mexico’s road network were also built and the first Metro line was inaugurated in the nation’s capital.

In 1968, the XIX Olympic Games were held in Mexico, and for this event the Palacio de los Deportes, the Villa Olímpica, the velodrome, the shooting range, the Olympic swimming pool, the canoeing and rowing canal, and the Sports Center were built. Mexican Olympic, among other relevant constructions.

Regarding public works, the period of the Díaz Ordaz government…

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