Pascual Ortiz Rubio

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Pascual Ortiz Rubio
Pascual Ortiz Rubio (cropped).jpg
42nd President of Mexico
In office
5 February 1930 – 4 September 1932
Preceded byEmilio Portes Gil
Succeeded byAbelardo L. Rodríguez
Personal details
Born(1877-03-10)10 March 1877
Morelia, Michoacán
Died4 November 1963(1963-11-04) (aged 86)
Mexico City
Political partyNational Revolutionary Party
Spouse(s)Josefa de Ortiz (1892–1983)

Pascual Ortiz Rubio (Spanish pronunciation: [pasˈkwal oɾˈtis ˈruβjo]; 10 March 1877 – 4 November 1963) was a Mexican politician and the President of Mexico from 1930 to 1932. He was one of three Mexican presidents to serve out the six-year term (1928-1934) of assassinated president-elect Álvaro Obregón, while former president Plutarco Elías Calles retained power in a period known as the Maximato. Calles was so blatantly in control of the government that Ortiz Rubio resigned the presidency in protest in 1932.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Morelia, Michoacán, the son of a lawyer and landowner, Pascual Ortiz de Ayala y Huerta, and Leonor Rubio Cornejo. He attended the Colegio de San Nicolás, in Michoacan's capital of Morelia, training as an engineer. He became politically active as a student and was opposed to the re-election of Porfirio Díaz in 1896. With the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and the election of Francisco I. Madero in 1911, Ortiz Rubio was elected to the federal legislature as a representative from Michoacan. When General Victoriano Huerta forced Madero and his vice president to resign and then murdered them in February 1913, Huerta jailed Ortiz Rubio. Huerta was ousted in 1914 by several revolutionary factions, and the Federal Army collapsed with that defeat. Ortiz Rubio joined the Constitutionalist Army headed by Venustiano Carranza. With the rank of colonel initially, he rose to the rank of brigadier general. The Constitutionalist faction went on to defeat rival revolutionary factions.[2]


Early positions[edit]

Ortiz Rubio served as Governor of Michoacán, from 1917 to 1920, and then as secretary of communications, from 1920 to 1921, under Sonoran generals Adolfo de la Huerta and Álvaro Obregón, who, along with fellow Sonoran Plutarco Elías Calles dominated politics in the 1920s. When Calles was elected president in 1924, Ortiz Rubio was appointed Mexican ambassador to Germany, and then Brazil.[3]


President-elect Álvaro Obregón was assassinated in 1928 by a Catholic mystic, leaving a power vacuum. Calles could not succeed himself as president and he took a brilliant step, creating a political party, the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR). This move institutionalized power and was the way that Calles could maintain personal control of men holding the presidency. Emilio Portes Gil was interim president following the assassination, and new elections were set for 1929. Calles passed over Portes Gil and Aarón Sáenz, who had expected to become the candidate[4] and tapped Ortiz Rubio to be PNR's candidate in the election of 17 November 1929. He ran against José Vasconcelos, Obregón's brilliant Secretary of Public Education and a national luminary who took a stand against corruption and Calles's authoritarian rule.[5]

Ortiz Rubio had no independent power base that could serve to counter balance to his powerful patron Calles and so as president he was seen an ineffective leader.[6] Ortiz Rubio had been ambassador to Brazil during crucial years in the 1920s when political alliances were forged. Some believed at the time that Vasconcelos actually won the election.[7] The margin was only 700,000 votes.[8] According to Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, the real winner of the election was "the new institution, the PNR, which now, for the first time in Mexican history, as a party determined the succession."[9]

During his term as president, he had overseen the passage of a new labor law and inaugurated the zoo in Chapultepec Park.[10] Alleging excessive interference in his presidency by former president Plutarco Elías Calles, from whom Ortiz demonstrated independence while he was in office[5] and still seriously shaken by an attempt on his life at the very start of his term,[6] he resigned the presidency on 4 September 1932. He resigned "with my hands clean of blood or money" and later in his memoir called Calles's rule as a "thinly veiled dictatorship."[11] He was succeeded by Abelardo L. Rodríguez, another protegé of Calles, who served the remaining two years of the six-year term.


Following his resignation, Ortiz Rubio went into self-exile in the United States returning to Mexico in 1935, following the 1934 election of president Lázaro Cárdenas, a fellow son of Michoacan.[12] In 1942, President Manuel Ávila Camacho invited all the former presidents of Mexico as a show of unity to join together in a public event at the central plaza of Mexico City, with Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, Abelardo Rodríguez — the three presidents during the Maximato — along with Lázaro Cárdenas and Plutarco Elías Calles.[13]

In 1963, Ortiz Rubio published a memoir.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roderic Ai Camp, "Pascual Ortiz Rubio" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 4, p. 247. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  2. ^ Camp, "Pascual Ortiz Rubio" p. 247.
  3. ^ Camp, "Pascual Ortiz Rubio" p. 247.
  4. ^ Enrique Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power. New York: Harper Collins 1997, p. 428
  5. ^ a b http://countrystudies.us/mexico/33.htm
  6. ^ a b http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/280-the-mexican-revolution-consolidation-1920-40-part-2
  7. ^ Camp, "Pascual Ortiz Rubio", p. 247.
  8. ^ "MEXICO: Impudent Imposition". Time. 25 November 1929. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  9. ^ Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power, p. 428.
  10. ^ Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power, p. 431
  11. ^ quoted in Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power, p. 431.
  12. ^ Camp, "Pascual Ortiz Rubio" p. 247.
  13. ^ Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power, p. 505.
  14. ^ Pascual Ortiz Rubio, Memorias, 1895-1928. Mexico 1963.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dulles, John W. F. Yesterday in Mexico: A Chronicle of the Revolution, 1919-1936. Austin: University of Texas Press 1961.
  • Meyer, Lorenzo. Historia de la Revolución Mexicana, vols. 12 and 13. 1978.
  • Medin, Tzvi. El minimato presidencial: Historia del maximato. 1982.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Emilio Portes Gil
President of Mexico
Succeeded by
Abelardo L. Rodríguez