Ruffo Appel, Ernesto (1952–)

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Ruffo Appel, Ernesto (1952–)

The Mexican politician and opposition leader Ernesto Ruffo was born on June 25, 1952, in San Diego, California, the son of a fish packer. Ruffo received most of his education in Ensenada, Baja California, graduating in business administration and accounting from the Technological Institute of Higher Studies of Monterrey in 1975. He began a long career in the Zapata Fishing Company, beginning as the personnel manager and including fleet and operations manager, before becoming general manager in 1982.

After joining the National Action Party (PAN) in 1983, Ruffo became president of Coparmex, a politically active business organization in Ensenada, and was elected the municipality's mayor in 1986. He won the governorship of Baja California in the benchmark election of 1989, becoming the first Mexican politician outside the PRI to win a governorship. His victory set off a pattern of PAN victories against the incumbent party, contributing significantly to the democratization of the electoral system that led to the presidential victory of Vicente Fox in 2000. After completing his term as governor in 1995, Ruffo ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of his party. President Fox subsequently appointed him as coordinator of migration affairs for the Northern Border, a position he held from 2000 to 2003.

See alsoFox Quesada, Vicente; Mexico: Since 1910; Mexico, Political Parties: National Action Party (PAN).


Diccionario biográfico del gobierno federal, 1992. Mexico: Presidencia, 1992.

Mizrahi, Yemile. From Martyrdom to Power: The Partido Acción Nacional in México. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2003.

                                    Roderic Ai Camp