Gustavo Díaz Ordaz

Gustavo Díaz Ordaz
Gustavo Díaz Ordaz Bolaños
49th President of Mexico
In office
1 December 1964 – 30 November 1970
Preceded by Adolfo López Mateos
Succeeded by Luis Echeverría
Governor of Puebla
In office
Preceded by Carlos I. Betancourt
Succeeded by Gonzalo Bautista Castillo
Personal details
Born 12 March 1911(1911-03-12)
Ciudad Serdán, Puebla
Died 15 July 1979(1979-07-15) (aged 68)
Mexico City
Political party Institutional Revolutionary Party
Spouse(s) Guadalupe Borja
Religion Roman Catholic[citation needed]

Gustavo Díaz Ordaz Bolaños (12 March 1911 – 15 July 1979) served as the President of Mexico from 1964 to 1970.


Political career

Díaz Ordaz was born in San Andrés Chalchícomula (nowadays Ciudad Serdán, Puebla). His father, Ramón Díaz Ordaz Redonet, worked as an accountant, while his mother, Sabina Bolaños Cacho de Díaz Ordaz, worked as a school teacher. Díaz Ordaz graduated from the University of Puebla on 8 February 1937 with a law degree. He became a professor at the university and served as vice rector from 1940–1941. In 1943 he became a federal deputy for the first district of the state of Puebla, and served as a senator for the same state from 1946–1952. He served as the Secretary of Government in the cabinet of president Adolfo López Mateos from 1958–1964. On 1 December 1963, he became the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The 1965 yearbook of Encyclopædia Britannica declared that despite facing only token opposition, Díaz Ordaz campaigned as if he were the underdog. He won the presidential election on 8 September 1964.

Presidential term

As president Díaz Ordaz was known for his authoritarian manner of rule over his cabinet and the country in general. His strictness was evident in his handling of a number of protests during his term, in which railroad workers, teachers, and doctors were fired for taking industrial action. When university students in Mexico City protested the government's actions around the time of the 1968 Summer Olympics, Díaz Ordaz oversaw the occupation of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the arrest of several students, leading to the shooting of hundreds of unarmed protesters during the Tlatelolco massacre in downtown Mexico City, in 2 October 1968. The Mexican army fired ruthlessly at the unarmed students as well as many other people who let the students take shelter inside their homes.[citation needed] Statistics concerning the casualties of this incident vary, often for political reasons. Some people were kept imprisoned for several years. The crackdown would eventually be denounced by his successors, and ordinary Mexicans view the assault of unarmed students as an atrocity. The stain of Tlatelolco would remain on PRI rule for many years.

Life after the Presidency

President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (left) riding a presidential motorcade in San Diego, with U.S. President Richard Nixon.

After his term expired, Díaz and his family vanished completely from the public eye; he was occasionally mentioned in newspapers (usually in a derogatory manner), seldom made interviews and was usually spotted only when voting in elections. In 1977, a break from this obscurity came as he was appointed as the first Ambassador to Spain in 38 years, previously broken due to Falangism. During his brief stint as Ambassador, he was met with a lot of hostility from both the Spanish media and the Mexican media alike as he was persistently asked questions about his actions as President, and resigned within several months due to this as well as health problems. Popular discontent led to a catchy phrase: "Al pueblo de España no le manden esa araña" (Don't send the people of Spain that spider). He died in Mexico City on 15 July 1979 of colorectal cancer.



  1. Camp, Roderic A. Mexican Political Biographies. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona, 1982.
  2. Smith, Peter H., "Mexico Since 1946: Dynamics of an Authoritarian Regime," in Bethell, Leslie, ed., Mexico Since Independence. Cambridge, UK. Cambridge University Press. 1991.

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