1 minute read

Luis Echeverría Álvarez: 1922—: Lawyer, Politician

Became Presidential Nominee

In 1969 PRI party members nominated Echeverría for president. By becoming the party's candidate, he was assured a victory, as the party had been in power since 1934. Echeverría faced only token opposition from Efraín Gonzalez Morfín of the right-wing Partido Acción Nacional.

Though there was never a chance that Echeverría would lose the election, he was discouraged that people associated him with the Tlatelolco massacre. In an effort to improve his image, Echeverría embarked on a 35,000-mile public relations campaign trek. He visited the country's 29 state capitals while touring on a bus called the Miguel Hidalgo, named for the man who sparked Mexican independence. Echeverría visited even the most remote peasant villages, all the while chanting his party's slogan, "Upward and Onward with the Revolution." While Echeverría acknowledged that the campaign was unnecessary, he maintained that it wasn't a waste of time. "We know how the election will turn out," he told Newsweek. "My main reason for campaigning is to learn about Mexico's problems." During the trek, the nearly six-foot tall, athletically built Echeverría captured the hearts of doubters with his enthusiasm, energy, and apparent concern for their plight. He promised to provide his poverty-ridden constituents with hospitals, highways, electricity, and schools.

On election day, only 42 percent of voters went to the polls. The other 58 percent realized Echeverría was already a winner because his party dominated the country. When Echeverría took office on December 1, 1970, he became the seventh consecutive PRI candidate to become president.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Craig David Biography - Became Teenage MC to Herman Edwards BiographyLuis Echeverría Álvarez: 1922—: Lawyer, Politician Biography - Worked Way Up Through Ruling Party, Became Presidential Nominee, Struggled To Stabilize Economy, Maintain Control