Salinas de Gortari, Carlos
Salinas de Gortari, Carlos,1948–, president of Mexico (1988–94). A Harvard-educated political economist, he became minister of planning and the budget (1982–87) and succeeded Miguel de la Madrid Hurtadode la Madrid Hurtado, Miguel
, 1934–2012, Mexican public official, president of Mexico (1982–88). As minister of planning and budget in the cabinet of José López Portillo, he was influential in planning the utilization of Mexico's oil wealth to promote
..... Click the link for more information. as president in 1988. A member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary partyInstitutional Revolutionary party,
Span. Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), Mexican political party. Established in 1929 as the National Revolutionary party by former President Plutarco Calles, it brought together the country's governmental, military, and
..... Click the link for more information. (PRI) from his student days, he became the first PRI presidential candidate to face competitive elections. Salinas won with 50.4% of the vote, but his victory was the result of PRI fraud. As president, he worked to revive Mexico's economy by curbing inflation and reducing government regulations. He became the major promoter of the North American Free Trade AgreementNorth American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), accord establishing a free-trade zone in North America; it was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.
..... Click the link for more information. (NAFTA), and in signing the accord (1992) reversed Mexico's historical resistance to foreign investment and to U.S. involvement in its affairs.
Although Salinas's administration was praised for its economic reforms, it lost some of its luster when his brother Raúl was arrested and convicted in 1995 for the 1994 murder of a PRI official and was later (1996) accused of massive financial misappropriations. After Carlos Salinas responded by criticizing the Mexican government, he was pressured into de facto exile, only returning to Mexico in 2000. Raül's 1995 conviction was overturned in 2005, and in 2006 he was acquitted (in Switzerland) of money-laundering charges.