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Vincente Fox: 1942—: Politician; Businessman Biography

Born Into Privilege, Challenged Mexico's Ruling Party, Launched Presidential Campaign, Attempted To Enact Reforms

Vincente Fox: 1942—: politician; businessman.

On July 2, 2000, Vincente Fox, newly elected president of Mexico, gathered before 100,000 supporters in Mexico City. "The city hadn't seen such jubilation since the pope's visit nearly ten years ago," wrote Dick Reavis in the Texas Monthly. Fox's victory was astounding to many because the International Revolutionary Party (PRI) had held the presidency since 1929, often by illegal means. Now, his victory, with 43 percent of the popular vote, would be allowed to stand. "Never before," stated a New York Times editorial, "in the memory of living Mexicans has presidential power passed peacefully to an opposition party."

Fox did not plan to become a politician. A businessman from a middle class background, he had risen to chief executive of Coca-Cola de Mexico and later helped his brothers manage the family's 1,100 acre farm in San Francisco del Rincón. Government laws and red tape, however, created hardships for many small business owners during the 1980s and 1990s. His own frustration with the system and encouragement from others led Fox to run for the legislature in 1988, the governorship of Guanajuato in 1991 and 1995, and the presidency in 2000. When President Ernesto Zedillo announced Fox's victory on television, Mexicans celebrated the changing of the guard. "Fed up with rampant corruption, crime and seemingly intractable poverty," Maclean's wrote, "Mexican voters finally said basta (enough) and threw out the world's longest-surviving political dynasty."

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