Lázaro Cárdenas Biography
(President of Mexico)
Birthday: May 21, 1895 (Gemini)
Born In: Jiquilpan, Mexico
Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was a military leader who served as a general in the Constitutionalist Army during the Mexican Revolution. From 1934 to 1940, he was the president of Mexico. He is widely recognised for his policies that led to the nationalisation of the oil industry in 1938 and the establishment of Pemex, the state-owned oil company. His policies also ushered in the resurgence of agrarian reforms in Mexico, confiscating large landed estates and allocating land to holders in collective holdings. While Cárdenas was originally from Michoacán and not Sonora, from where most of the prolific Mexican politicians of the 1920s emerged, he quickly garnered prominence as a loyal subordinate of Sonoran general and former president Plutarco Elías Calles. He even became the hand-picked candidate of Calles to contest in the 1934 presidential election. After Cárdenas was elected, however, he gradually decreased Calles’ hold on power and dispatched him into exile. Widely regarded as the most popular Mexican president of the 20th century, he is hailed as the "the greatest constructive radical of the Mexican Revolution" for bringing back its ideals but has been castigated as well for being an “authoritarian populist”. Cárdenas’ actions during his tenure effectively curbed the military’s ability to launch coups d'état. In December 1940, he completely transferred power to his elected successor, Manuel Ávila Camacho.