Cárdenas (del Río), Lázaro


Cárdenas (del Río), Lázaro

biographical name

(born May 21, 1895, Jiquilpan, Mex.—died Oct. 19, 1970, Mexico City) President of Mexico (1934–40). Of Indian descent, he joined the armed struggle against the dictatorial Victoriano Huerta, rising through the ranks of the revolutionary forces. His faction triumphed, and Cárdenas was made a general in the Mexican army in 1920. In 1928 he became governor of Michoacán, and in 1934 he became president. Noted for his efforts to carry out the social and economic aims of the revolution, he distributed a record amount of land to peasants, made loans available to them, organized workers' and peasants' confederations, and nationalized the oil industry, the principal railways, and other foreign-owned industries. He opposed U.S. influence in Mexico and later supported Fidel Castro. For many Mexicans he remains the foremost symbol of the political left. His son Cuauhtémoc, a prominent leader of the opposition to Mexico's ruling party, is widely believed to have been denied victory in the 1988 presidential elections by fraud; he has since served as mayor of Mexico City. See also Indigenismo.

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