Colosio Murrieta, Luis Donaldo (1950–1994)

views updated

Colosio Murrieta, Luis Donaldo (1950–1994)

The Mexican political leader Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta was assassinated after becoming a presidential candidate. Born February 10, 1950, in Magdaleno de Kino, Sonora, the son of a meat packer and self-educated accountant, he graduated from the Institute of Technology and Higher Studies in Monterrey in economics. He received an M.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and spent a year in Vienna before taking a position at the Secretariat of Programming and Budgeting in 1979 as a member of Carlos Salinas's political network. In 1985 Colosio was elected to Congress from Sonora, and during Salinas's presidential campaign three years later, he served as official mayor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). After a brief stint as senator in 1988, Colosio became party president from 1988 to 1992 and presided over the crucial 1991 congressional elections and internal party reforms. In 1992 President Salinas appointed him as the first secretary of the newly reconstituted Social Development Secretariat, where Colosio directed the politically influential Solidarity program before his designation by President Salinas in 1993 as the PRI's candidate for president. It was expected that he would win the August 1994 presidential election, but he was assassinated in Tijuana in mid-campaign. Colosio's murder produced numerous consequences for the political system, and coming so soon after the indigenous uprising in Chiapas, contributed to political instability. President Salinas was forced to select a replacement candidate, Colosio's campaign manager Ernesto Zedillo, who did not generate as much support within the party. Although the Salinas administration claimed Colosio was killed by a single, deranged gunman, President Zedillo later reopened the investigation, which alleged a wider plot. However, no charges ensued from that investigation to support such assertions. Colosio's death on March 23, 1994, contributed to further splits within the PRI leadership, as many of his former disciples and supporters left the party, thus furthering democratic pluralization.

See alsoMexico, Political Parties: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) .


Eguía, Colilá. A quemarropa. Mexicali, Mexico: BusCa Libros, 1994.

González Graf, Jaime. Colosio, un candidato en la transición: Frente al México nuevo. Mexico City: Grijalbo, 1994.

                                         Roderic Ai Camp