Mexican nun Juana Inés de la Cruz was one of the finest authors of the Latin American colonial era. Initially the lady-in-waiting of Mexico’s viceroy, she later took her vows. She built a huge library and penned masterpieces such as the poem Primero sueño and the religious drama El divino Narciso.
Economist Carlos Salinas de Gortari boasts of a PhD from Harvard. The former Mexican president is known for opening up his country to foreign investments. Riddled with controversies and corruption scandals, he stepped down and went into exile later. He is considered one of the most-hated Mexican leaders ever.
Mexican politician Luis Donaldo Colosio was contesting as a PRI presidential candidate when he was assassinated during a campaign, leading to a media frenzy. While the supposed shooter was eventually convicted, the fact that the multiple shots fired at him came from different directions gave rise to several conspiracy theories.
Ernesto Zedillo is a Mexican politician and economist who served as the 61st President of Mexico from 1994 to 2000. The 71-year streak of uninterrupted Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) rule was broken by the National Action Party when Zedillo lost his presidency. Ernesto Zedillo is currently serving as the director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.
Initially a lawyer, José Vasconcelos later led the National University of Mexico as its rector and also served as the Mexican minister of public education. Known for his belief in aesthetic monism, he soared to fame with his 5-part memoir, Ulises Criollo, which offered a mirror of the 20th-century Mexican society.
Born in Austria, to a merchant father who loved collecting paintings, Wolfgang Paalen had been exposed to arts since childhood. He later trained in painting and archaeology and joined the Surrealist movement. His signature fumage technique involved creating art with the smoke and soot from candles. He later settled in Mexico.
Scholar Alfonso Reyes had been a Mexican diplomat in Spain, Argentina, and Brazil. An expert in classical Greek and Spanish literature, he penned works such as La experiencia literaria and was also a 5-time Nobel Prize nominee. He had also translated works of authors such as G.K. Chesterton and Anton Chekhov.
One of Mexico’s greatest political activists and critics, Carlos Monsiváis is best known for his crónicas, or literary journalism pieces. His criticism of the culture of Mexico was often satirical. He remained single throughout his life and would often give interviews with his pet cats on his lap.
Miguel Covarrubias donned many hats, and apart from being a painter and caricaturist, he was also a fine writer, an anthropologist, and an ethnologist. He explored the cultures of South East Asians and North American Indians and also co-discovered the Olmec Mesoamerican civilization. He designed theater sets and costumes, too.
Antonio Ortiz Mena was a Mexican economist best known for his service as Mexico's Secretary of Finance from 1958 to 1970, during which the country's per-capita income grew 3.4 percent every year. From 1971 to 1988, Antonio Ortiz Mena also served as the President of the Inter-American Development Bank.