Lázaro Cárdenas del Río
Born: May 21, 1895 in Jiquilpan, Michoacán
Died: October 19, 1970 (aged 75) in Mexico City, Mexico
Political party: Party of the Mexican Revolution
Spouse(s): Amalia Solórzano
Lázaro Cárdenas was born on May 21, 1895 in a lower-middle-class family in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán. He supported his family (including his mother and seven younger siblings) from age 16 after the death of his father. By the age of 18 he had worked as a tax collector, a printer’s devil, and a jailkeeper. Although he left school at the age of eleven, he used every opportunity to educate himself and read widely throughout his life, especially works of history.
Cárdenas’s first move once he took office late in 1934 was to have his presidential salary cut in half. Even more surprising moves would follow. After establishing himself in the presidency, Cárdenas and the Mexican Congress turned on Calles and condemned his continued war-like persecution of the Catholic Church. During his time in office, Cárdenas openly sought the National Revolutionary Party’s six-year plan of social and political reform.
Cárdenas’s efforts to negotiate with Mexican Eagle, in the managerial control of Royal Dutch/Shell and Standard Oil of New Jersey, were unavailing, and the companies rejected a solution proposed by a presidential commission. So at 9:45 pm on the evening of March 18, 1938, Cárdenas nationalized Mexico’s petroleum reserves and expropriated the equipment of the foreign oil companies in Mexico. The announcement inspired a spontaneous six-hour parade in Mexico City; it was followed by a national fund-raising campaign to compensate the companies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A1zaro_C%C3%A1rdenas