January 8, 2012 by staff
Felipe Calderon, Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa (1962 – ) is a Mexican politician and current President of Mexico, having been elected in a controversial 2006 election. A member of the PAN (Partido de Acci?n Nacional/National Action Party) Party, Calderon is a social conservative but a fiscal liberal.
Calderon comes from a political family. His father, Lu?s Calderon Vega, was one of several founders of the PAN party, at a time when Mexico was basically ruled by one party only, the PRI or Revolutionary Party. An excellent student, Felipe earned degrees in law and economics in Mexico before going to Harvard University, where he received a Masters of Public Administration. He joined the PAN as a young man and quickly proved capable of important posts within the party structure.
Calderon served as a representative in the Federal Chamber of Deputies, which is a little like the House of Representatives in United States Politics. In 1995 he ran for governor of the state of Michoac?n, but lost to L?zaro C?rdenas, another son of a famous political family. He nevertheless went on to national prominence, serving as national chairman for the PAN party from 1996 to 1999. When Vicente Fox (who is also a member of the PAN party) was elected president in 2000, Calderon was appointed to several important posts, including director of Banobras, a state-owned development bank, and Secretary of Energy.
Calderon’s road to the presidency was a bumpy one. First, he had a falling-out with Vicente Fox, who openly endorsed another candidate, Santiago Creel. Creel later lost to Calderon in a primary election. In the general election, his most serious opponent was Andrés Manuel L?pez Obrador, representative of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Calderon won the election, but many of L?pez Obrador’s supporters believe that significant election fraud took place. The Mexican Supreme Court decided that President Fox’s campaigning on Calderon’s behalf had been questionable, but the results stood.
A social conservative, Calderon opposes issues such as gay marriage, abortion (including the “morning-after” pill), euthanasia and contraception education. His administration has been fiscally moderate to liberal, however. He is in favor of free trade, lower taxes and privatization of state-controlled businesses.
He is married to Margarita Zavala, who herself once served in the Mexican Congress. They have three children, all born between 1997 and 2003.
President Calderon’s efforts to fight organized drug cartels suffered a major setback in November, 2008, when a plane crash killed fourteen people, including Juan Camilo Mourino, Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior, and Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, a high-profile prosecutor of drug-related crimes. Although many suspected the accident was the result of sabotage ordered by drug gangs, evidence seems to indicate pilot error.
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