The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico sweeps the field in elections for every position across the nation, though they had been generally expected to lose the vote for governor in the northern states of Sonora and Neuvo Leon. Officials from the opposition PAN claims that their poll scrutineers were denied certification by the government, polling stations had shut unexpectedly without notice in opposition areas and that unidentified police officials had carried away ballot boxes before they had the opportunity to be counted. The PAN demands new elections, but the US government backs the return of the PRI.
Mexico City is rocked by a devastating earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale. The quake was felt as far away as Los Angeles, leading to massive structural damage and economic uncertainty. The number of dead will exceed ten thousand. President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado announces that, confronted by a sinking peso, inabilities to maintain food subsidies and rising unemployment, his nation will be forced to suspend debt repayments on the same line as Peru. The US pressures the IMF to extend a further $900 million in credit, but the White House admits that Mexico will need an additional $3 billion in aid over the next year. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance begins to consider a possible aid package.
Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Schevardnadze arrives in Mexico City, joining the fleet of Antonov An-12s and An-124 Ruslans, accompanied by Ilyushin Il-76 transport jets, at Benito Juarez Airport. Within the first eight days, the Soviets have airlifted in 130 tonnes of supplies and ninety-five rescue personnel. Schevardnadze also brings with him about $380,000 in hard currency for the Soviet Embassy to distribute for any “immediate relief expenses”. The presence of American, Soviet, French, Italian, West German, British, Canadian and Swiss workers makes the relief effort truly international, and they pledge to have the city ready before the FIFA World Cup, due to be held in the city next June.
Soviet Foreign Minister Schevardnadze undertakes a visit to Mexico City and drives through the city’s eastern suburbs with President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado. Little private aid has arrived from the United States and Schevardnadze announces a propaganda coup by offering teams of army engineers to rebuild. Additional aid to Mexico from the Soviet Union is estimated by CIA sources at $34.7 million.
Voting in Mexican elections for the government of Chihuahua see another victory by the incumbent PRI amid accusations of massive fraud. They throw into doubt the “moral renovation” of President Miguel de la Madrid and lead to a national “strike” by business owners as a protest against the blatant rigging of the vote by the incumbents.
Nearly six thousand Mexicans block the border crossing from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez to protest electoral fraud by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. A long delay results, as hundreds of semi-trailers line up on each side of the border before the crowd disperses.
The US Administration protests to Mexico regarding the kidnapping and torture of Drug Enforcement Administration agents. They demand a full investigation into the highest levels of the Mexican government and are summarily rebuffed.
Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, returning from the Pacific via the Americas, informs the Mexican government of a grant to establish a reserve for twenty-years over 56,000 hectares of the eastern state of Michoacan, the wintering habitat of the monarch butterfly, and to sponsor the region on to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Mexico’s peso crashes through the barrier of 1,000 peso to the US dollar as the annual inflation rate in the country hits triple figures. With no ongoing foreign credit to keep the Lima Group countries afloat, and students shutting down the national university, the De la Madrid government admits that Mexico faces a growing decline in the standard of living, negative growth and continuing high inflation. Some predict that the situation in Mexico City will soon turn violent.
A series of public appearances with President de la Madrid confirm that the Secretary of Energy, Alfredo del Mazo Gonzalez, 44, is favourite to succeed as President of Mexico. While it is nominally a democratic election, there is tradition for the president to choose his successor. Del Mazo is Governor of the State of Mexico and a protégé of aging labour leader, Fidel Velazquez.
President Miguel de la Madrid of Mexico expresses concern over President Bush’s recent immigration amnesty, stating the associated crackdown and the flood of returnees is placing pressure on the country. In some towns, up to a quarter of the population are in the United States, sending money back home, and Mexican cities have no jobs to offer either.
Senior members of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party gather in Mexico City to meet with potential candidates for the 1988 presidential election. For the first time, dissident democratic factions within the party have made it clear to party officials that they will no longer allow the party leadership to be anointed by the outgoing President.
Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid announces his successor to be Energy and Mines Minister, Alfredo del Mazo Gonzalez. Del Mazo is seen to have achieved victory through the influence of his mentor, Fidel Valezquez, the venerable dean of the Confederation of Mexican Workers. Both Del Mazo and his father had been governors of the state of Mexico and the former is a graduate in business administration.
The Mexican government confirms the arrest of three police officials suspected of cooperating with Ernesto Fonseca Carillo, one of the leaders of Mexico’s largest marijuana smuggling ring who was arrested in 1985. There have been suspicions that Fonseca had been plotting his escape from detention.
It is discovered that the DPS, the internal police of Mexico, is working closely with the marijuana cartels only three years after its supposed clean-up. It is estimated that at least 25% of members are corrupt. With elections due in July, this is seriously embarrassing to the governing PRI. Presidential candidate Alfredo del Mazo Gonzalez, 44, expresses ongoing confidence in the party.
Mexican presidential candidate, Alfredo del Mazo, calls for an accurate count in the national election due in four days. While there is little doubt that del Mazo will be elected as President, there is a chance for the first time since 1929 that the Institutional Revolutionary Party will get less than 50% of the total vote.
Alfredo del Mazo is elected as the new President-elect of Mexico with 49.2% of the vote and a four-seat majority in the Chamber of Deputies. His nearest competitor is the National Democratic Front’s Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who achieves 34.3% of the vote. The new President is not due to begin his six-year term until 1 December.
President-elect of Mexico, Alfredo del Mazo, welcomes a “new age of pluralism” in Mexico, stating confidence in the Electoral Commission’s results. He states that he sees his role as “leading Mexico’s participation in the enormous transformation that is going on in the world” and promoting advances in democracy and prosperity.
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, the losing candidate in the Mexican election, claims widespread fraud within the electoral process. He calls for a protest march across the country on 1 September to “totally repudiate the PRI fraud”, the same day on which the Congress of Deputies are due to meet to vote in ratification of the presidential election result.
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas addresses a public rally in Mexico City, stating that he supports the reform-minded Alfredo del Mazo, but that the President-elect has become a “prisoner in a gilded cage”. He adds that the PRI has become “a collection of personal interests without ideology”. He calls on the United States to place pressure on del Mazo and the PRI to “show us the real election results”.
One of the contestants in the recent Mexican poll, Manuel Clothier, files charges against the National Registry of Voters, alleging it cooperated in stealing the election on behalf of President-elect Alfredo del Mazo. However, the latter has already commenced plans for his inauguration and it is now clear that the PRI intends to proceed as though the result has been unchallenged.
Protests begin in Mexico City over the election result, with losing candidate Cuauhtémoc Cardenas calling on his supporters to refrain from any acts of violence. There are also protests by sympathetic groups outside Mexico’s embassy in Washington and the consulate in New York. Two are arrested from Cardenas' headquarters. Other protestors are beaten when they try to break police lines around the Congress of Deputies.
There are further protests against the election result in Mexico by students on campuses across the country. The action leads to fifteen arrests and two people are severely beaten. In response, activist student groups stage a strike at universities to demand a resolution of their grievances.
Mexican President-elect Alfredo del Mazo announces that there will be an investigation into the election result, stating that it is necessary to determine whether fraud has occurred. He indicates, however, that the scale of fraud necessary for him to have been defeated is so vast that it could not possibly reverse the election result or prevent his inauguration in December.
After continuing protests in Mexico, President-elect Alfredo del Mazo agrees to meet with Cuauhtémoc Cardenas in order to discuss the July election result and to talk about grievances he has with the process.
Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid blames the election controversy on foreign media and on Cuauhtémoc Cardenas for having urged “unrest on the streets”. He refuses a request for the election result to be set aside and a new poll to be held before December.
Mexico’s President-elect Alfredo del Mazo announces that, despite considerable success at containing inflation, the recent fall in oil prices has undercut the national strategy at debt management. As such, it is threatening to create a new debt crisis. On the basis of Mexico’s previous cooperation in containing the threat of debt defaults, he asks for and receives an emergency $3.5 billion line of credit from the US Government to tide Mexico over until new World Bank loans kick in during January.
Alfredo del Mazo Gonzalez is sworn in as the President of Mexico. He pledges to reform the economy and the electoral system, despite ongoing allegations of electoral fraud. Attendees include Cuba’s President Fidel Castro and US Secretary of State James Baker.
Mexican President Alfredo del Mazo Gonzalez names his Cabinet. His most senior appointment is Interior Minister Roberto Madrazo, a youthful 33-year-old Senator from Tabasco. However, a ceremony in the Chamber of Deputies today is overcast when members of the opposition walk out of the chamber in protest at his election.
Mexico’s President Alfredo del Mazo repeats history by stating that his country can no longer afford to pay its debts and will once again return to interest only payments until such time as the financial situation is restored. The announcement follows a meeting with the new President of Venezuela, Eduardo Fernandez, and outgoing Argentine President Raul Alfonsin. Alfonsin has had great success with his own version of the Cardoso Plan. There are proposals for another congress of the Lima Group.
The workers of Pemex, the Mexican state oil company, stage a week-long strike to protest against the inauguration of President Alfredo del Mazo, staging demonstrations in various parts of the country. Del Mazo states the need to bring the unions under control, but fails to act for a week as petrol supplies run out across the country.
Mexican President Alfredo del Mazo formally protests to the United States about the number of his citizens being killed attempting to cross the border illegally into the United States. He claims that seventy people have been killed this year alone as new patrols and barriers have been rolled out across the Rio Grande. US authorities dispute the numbers, claiming they are less than a third of these numbers.
Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Felix Gallardo, is brought down in an early morning raid, following other key arrests conducted by the del Mazo government since it took office. Others detained in the anti-corruption drive have been powerful but corrupt head of the oil workers union, Joaquin Hernandez Galicia, and a number of businessmen connected to the government. As a result, Alfredo del Mazo, once derided as a bland and illegitimate technocrat, has risen to over 80% popularity.
President Alfredo del Mazo of Mexico admits that the arrest of cocaine drug lord Felix Gallardo has led to brutal fighting between the drug cartels for control of his empire. He mobilises the army to send troops into Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Navojoa, Culiacan and Matamoros, with about ten thousand soldiers operating in each of the cities, to crack down on drug-related violence.
A violent shootout between the Mexican Army and drug traffickers occurs in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Nearly seven hundred people are killed, including 131 soldiers and police.