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Vicente Fox

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Vicente Fox

Vicente Fox
55th President of Mexico
In office
December 1, 2000 – November 30, 2006
Preceded by Ernesto Zedillo
Succeeded by Felipe Calderón
Governor of Guanajuato
In office
September 25, 1995 – September 25, 1999
Preceded by Carlos Medina Plascencia
Succeeded by Ramón Martín Huerta
Co-President of Centrist Democrat International
alongside Pier Ferdinando Casini
Assumed office
Personal details
Born Vicente Fox Quesada
(1942-07-02) July 2, 1942
Mexico City, Mexico
Political party National Action Party (PAN)
Spouse(s) Lilian de la Concha
(m. 1969–1990, divorced)
Marta Sahagún
(m. 2001–present)
Alma mater Universidad Iberoamericana
Harvard University
Occupation Businessman; Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism

Vicente Fox Quesada (Spanish pronunciation: ; born July 2, 1942) is a Mexican businessman who was Christian democratic political parties.[1]

Fox was elected President of Mexico in the 2000 presidential election, a historically significant election that made him the first president elected from an opposition party since Francisco I. Madero in 1910 and the first one in 71 years to defeat, with 42 percent of the vote, the then-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).[2]

After serving as president of Mexico for six years, President Fox returned to his home state of Guanajuato, where he resides with his wife and family. Since leaving the presidency, Vicente Fox has been involved in public speaking and the construction of the Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum.[3]


  • Early years 1
  • Early political career 2
    • Governor of Guanajuato 2.1
    • Campaign for President 2.2
      • Amigos de Fox 2.2.1
      • Election results 2.2.2
  • Presidency 3
    • Public image 3.1
      • Controversial comments 3.1.1
  • Post-presidential life 4
    • Public speaking and advocacy 4.1
    • Autobiography 4.2
    • Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum 4.3
    • Centrist Democratic International 4.4
    • Statue controversy 4.5
  • Honours 5
  • See also 6
  • Sources 7
  • Notes 8
  • External links 9

Early years

Vicente Fox was born in Guanajuato on July 2, 1942, the second of nine children. His father was José Luis Fox Pont, a Mexican citizen,[4] and his mother Mercedes Quesada Etxaide, was Basque from San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain. Fox's paternal grandfather was born Joseph Louis Fuchs in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of German Catholic immigrants, Louis Fuchs and Catherina Elisabetha Flach, of Strasbourg, now in France. The "Fuchs" surname was changed from German during the 1870s to its English equivalent, "Fox".[5] The family lost touch with their German origins and it was believed by the Fox family that their origins lay in Ireland until discovered otherwise later in President Fox's life.

Fox spent his childhood and adolescence at the family ranch in San Francisco del Rincón in Guanajuato. He moved to Mexico City to attend the Universidad Iberoamericana and received a Bachelor's degree in business administration in 1964. He earned his diploma in top management skills from the Harvard Business School in the United States in 1974.[6]

In 1964, Fox went to work for the Coca-Cola Company where he started as a route supervisor, and he drove a delivery truck. He quickly rose in the company to become the supervisor of Coca-Cola's operations in Mexico, and later in all of Latin America. As the President of Coca Cola Mexico, Fox presided over Coca-Cola when it became Mexico's top-selling soft drink, increasing Coca-Cola's sales by almost 50%.[7]

Vicente Fox married a receptionist at Coca-Cola, Lilian de la Concha. They adopted four children, Ana Cristina, Vicente, Paulina, and Rodrigo.[8] In 1990, after 20 years of marriage, Lilian filed for and was granted a divorce.

Vicente Fox married for the second time while in office as President. He married Marta María Sahagún Jiménez (until then his spokesperson) on July 2, 2001, the first anniversary of his presidential election and his 59th birthday. For both, this was their second marriage.

After retiring from Coca-Cola, Vicente Fox began to participate in various public activities in Guanajuato, where he created the "Patronato de la Casa Cuna Amigo Daniel", an orphanage. He was the president of the Patronato Loyola, a sponsor of the León campus of the Universidad Iberoamericana and of the Lux Institute.[9]

Early political career

With the support of Manuel Clouthier, Vicente Fox joined the Partido Acción Nacional on March 1, 1988. That same year he ran for and was elected to the federal Chamber of Deputies representing the Third Federal District in León, Guanajuato.[9]

Governor of Guanajuato

After serving in the Chamber of Deputies, Fox sought the governorship in Guanajuato in 1991, but lost to Ramón Aguirre Velázquez of the PRI. Following the election, local discontent was so great that the state Congress appointed Carlos Medina Plascencia of the PAN as interim governor.[10] Four years later, Fox ran again, winning by a vote of 2 to 1.[9]

As governor, Fox promoted government efficiency and transparency. He was one of the first state governors of Mexico to give a clear, public and timely account of the finances of his state.[11]

Fox pushed for the consolidation of small firms, promoted the sale overseas of goods manufactured in Guanajuato and created a unique system in which micro-credits with no overdue portfolio were granted. Under Fox, the state became the fifth most important Mexican state economy.[11]

Campaign for President

Vicente Fox, the president of Mexico, performing the Zogist salute.

On July 7, 1997 (three years before the presidential election of 2000), Vicente Fox decided to run for President of Mexico. In spite of opposition within his party, Fox secured his candidacy representing the Alliance for Change, a political coalition formed by the National Action Party and the Green Ecological Party of Mexico on November 14, 1999.

During the course of his campaign a presidential debate was organized. There was a disagreement between the three main contenders, Fox, Francisco Labastida of the PRI and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of the PRD, and some of the arguments were broadcast on national television, notably the one on whether the debate should be held that same day or the following Friday.[12] For minutes, Fox kept repeating the word "Hoy" meaning "today," originating the famous phrase "hoy, hoy, hoy!" The other candidates decided to postpone the debate, but Fox used that day's airtime anyway. At first the action brought criticism to Fox, but it soon backfired against his opponents when Fox started using his new phrase to gain new supporters as he campaigned for a better future "today".

During the presidential debate his main opponent, Francisco Labastida, claimed in a nationally televised debate that Vicente Fox had repeatedly called him a "sissy" and a "cross-dresser".[13] Fox's campaign slogans were "¡Ya!" ("Right now!"), "Ya ganamos" ("We've already won") and "Vota Alianza por el Cambio" ("Vote for Alliance for Change").

Amigos de Fox

Amigos de Fox ("Friends of Fox") was a non-profit fundraising group established by Denise Montaño that was instrumental in getting Vicente Fox elected President of Mexico. The phrase was also used as a campaign slogan referring to the millions of people supporting Fox in the 2000 presidential elections.[14]

In 2003, money-laundering charges were lodged against the fund-raising group, but were dropped shortly before the July 2003 mid-term elections.[15]

Election results

Gerhard Schröder in Los Pinos with President Fox.

On July 2, 2000, (Fox's 58th birthday) he won the presidential election with 43% (15,989,636 votes) of the popular vote, followed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Francisco Labastida with 36% (13,579,718 votes), and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) with 17% (6,256,780 votes). Vicente Fox declared victory that same night, a victory which was ratified by President Zedillo. After the final results were announced, President-elect Vicente Fox met with thousands of supporters at the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City, to address his supporters and celebrate his victory. His opponents conceded the election later that night.

President-elect Vicente Fox received an enormous amount of media coverage, as well as many congratulating messages and phone calls from world leaders including then President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Fox took office as president on December 1, 2000, marking the first time in Mexico's history that an incumbent government peacefully surrendered power to an elected member of the opposition.


See article Fox administration

Public image

Fox with Laura Bush, Marta Sahagún, and George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas, March 5, 2004

During his campaign for president, Vicente Fox became well known for his unique cowboy style and popular charisma. As speaker, Fox usually gathered big crowds in early years of his presidency.[16]

At six foot five, President Fox easily stood out in most crowds, and is believed to be one of the tallest presidents in Mexican history.[17] After his inauguration, President Fox usually only wore suits for formal occasions, opting to wear his signature boots and jeans throughout his many visits around Mexico.[18]

When President Fox welcomed U.S. President Guanajuato, both presidents were wearing Fox’s signature black cowboy boots, prompting the Wall Street Journal to call it “The Boot Summit”.[19]

Controversial comments

Vicente Fox speaking
  • In March 2002, two days prior to the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Nuevo León. Fox called Cuban President Fidel Castro and instructed him to limit his comments about the United States, and that he should leave Mexico after he delivers his speech and eats a meal. This led Castro years later to call Fox "despicable and treacherous".
President Vicente Fox (left) with López Obrador (center) and former México State governor Arturo Montiel (right).
  • In May 2005, a controversy arose over comments Fox made during a meeting with Texas businesspeople in which he said, "There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States". This angered many African-Americans in the United States, prompting many black leaders to demand an apology from Fox. The Reverend Al Sharpton requested a formal apology from Fox to the African-American community and called for an economic boycott of Mexican products until an apology was received; he and many African-Americans felt that Fox's comments were insensitive and racist. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, during a news conference concerning Fox's statement about African-Americans, said that he felt that the comments were, "unwitting, unnecessary and inappropriate" and added that "[Fox's] statement had the impact of being inciting and divisive".[20]
  • On May 30, 2005, President Fox told reporters that the majority of the female homicides in Ciudad Juárez had been resolved and the perpetrators placed behind bars. He went on to criticize the media for "rehashing" the same 300 or 400 murders, and said matters needed to be seen in their "proper dimension".
  • In 2006, after Bolivian President Evo Morales refused to sell natural gas, Fox said, "Well, they'll either have to consume it all themselves or they're going to have to eat it."[22]
  • In yet another controversial move he decided to cancel the parade commemorating the 96th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution to take place November 20, arguing that it is an obsolete celebration in which nobody wants to participate any more. Some analysts considered that this was a response to Andrés Manuel López Obrador's assumption of an alternative presidency to take place the same day. Some considered it a smart decision, while others viewed it as a sign of political weakness.[23]
  • On March 8, 2006, in the wake of the murder of Canadian couple Domenico and Nancy Ianiero at a resort in Cancun, Fox said that there was evidence that pointed to Canadian suspects from Thunder Bay, in order to assert that Cancun remained a safe vacation resort. Fox's comments were criticized by the Ianieros' lawyer Edward Greenspan for compromising the investigation, which Mexican authorities were considered to have largely mishandled. Quintana Roo attorney general Bello Melchor Rodriguez later stated that the Canadians were never considered as suspects.[24][25]
  • In November 2006, the TV network Telemundo released a video that had been recorded previous to an interview with President Fox in which he stated: "Ya hoy hablo libre, ya digo cualquier tontería, ya no importa, ya total, yo ya me voy" which means "Now, I speak freely. Now, I say whatever nonsense. It doesn't matter anymore. Anyway, I'm already leaving." Then, during the interview he talked about the violent situation in Oaxaca. The President's office complained about the release of this images and said he was not aware of the camera and microphones being turned on. News agency EFE accused Telemundo of acting unethically, because the video was EFE's intellectual property.[26]
  • In a lecture in the United States, in which he was a keynote speaker, he identified [27]

Post-presidential life

Public speaking and advocacy

President Fox speaking
After leaving office in December 2006, Fox has maintained himself in the public eye by speaking in countries such as Nigeria, Canada and the United States about topics such as the controversial 2006 election and the Iraq War. In Mexico, Fox's busy post-presidency has caused much criticism because former Mexican presidents have been expected to stay out of the political spotlight. Nevertheless, Fox stated:

In addition, President Fox has expressed interest in campaigning for PAN candidates in future Mexican elections, an action that would make him the first former president in many decades to do so. Given that President Fox is still well-liked and left office with approval ratings of 70%, many in Mexico are wondering if his support could result in candidates being elected.[29]

Vicente Fox is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that offers, discreetly and confidentially, a range of experienced advisors to political leaders facing difficult situations.

In 2013, Fox discussed why the West has pursued a moral crusade against drugs at HowTheLightGetsIn festival in Hay-on-Wye.[30] with Chris Bryant and John Ralston Saul. The three debated whether it is hypocritical to ban certain drugs while continuing to export others such as alcohol and tobacco. Should we follow the lead of Washington and Colorado states in the U.S. and allow the free trading of drugs?

Vicente Fox gave a video interview in July 2013 to High Times, in which he discussed the failure of drug prohibition, and cited Portugal's decriminalization policies as "working splendid(ly)". He said he supports drug legalization despite not being a user himself, just as he said he also "fully respects" same-sex marriage although he does not personally agree with it.[31]

In February 2014, Fox wrote an opinion piece that was published in Toronto's Globe and Mail in which he stated:

He also said that "we must be given the very freedom to decide our own behaviour and to act responsibly, as long as we do not detrimentally affect the rights of others".[33]


Vicente Fox with President of The United States Stephen Harper stand in front of "El Castillo" in Chichen Itza, March 30, 2006

Fox's [38] Fox also referred to Bush in his autobiography as a "windshield cowboy", due to Bush's apparent fear of a horse Fox offered him to ride.[39]

Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum

See: Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum
Vicente Fox

On January 12, 2007,[40] over a month after he left office, Vicente Fox announced the construction of a center of studies, library and museum that has been labeled by the U.S. press as Mexico's first presidential library.[41][42][43] The project will be a library, museum, a center for the advancement of democracy, a study center and a hotel, and it will be completely privately funded.[44][45] It is expected to be a genuine U.S.-style presidential library. It will be built in Fox's home state of Guanajuato, in his home town of San Francisco del Rincón.

While museums are abundant throughout the country, there is nothing comparable to a presidential library where personal documents, records, and gifts amassed by the country's leader are opened to the public. Fox's library will be modeled after the Bill Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas,[46] which, according to the former president, will allow Mexicans to enjoy, for the first time in Mexico’s history, the liberty to review the documents, images and records that made up his six years as president.[47]

According to the official website, the construction of the Center is in progress and advancing.[48] Final completion of the library was expected by late 2007.

There was news in the media on Centro Fox joining hands with UST Global to transform Mexico.[49] Fox stated in a press release that "UST Global is partnering Centro Fox in order to help accomplish nothing less than the transformation of my country into a world-class technology economy...Together, we will establish Mexico at the forefront of the information technology revolution in the region."

Centrist Democratic International

On September 20, 2007, Fox was elected Co-President of the National Action Party, as a member.[50]

Statue controversy

Statue of Vicente Fox in Boca del Río, Veracruz.

In October 2007, an announcement was made in the municipality of Boca del Río, Veracruz, that a 3-meter (10 ft) statue of Vicente Fox was to be erected to honor the former president. This aroused much criticism from the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution and Mexican media "towards Boca del Río's mayor", "who is affiliated with the National Action Party, of which Fox is also a member".

The statue was put in place amidst protests on the dawn of October 13, 2007. The inauguration was to have been held on October 14, 2007. Some hours after the installation, a crowd of about 100 people brought the statue down with a rope, damaging it. The statue was put back in place for the inauguration, then taken away for repairs.[51]

PAN members accused Veracruz's governor, Fidel Herrera Beltrán, of "ordering the attack on the statue", while Fox called him intolerant. Some sources in the media considered that the installation of the statue was inappropriate, since former President Fox was facing allegations relating to an illicit enrichment scandal.

Many of the protesters were members of the center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which governed Mexico for much of the 20th century, until Fox (of the National Action Party [PAN]) won the 2000 presidential election, ousting the PRI from power.[52]


See also


Schmidt, Samuel. 2000. Mexico encadenado. El legado de Zedillo y los retos de Fox. Mexico D.F.: Colibri


  1. ^ Who's Who at CDI-IDC
  2. ^ Milner, Kate (2000-07-02). "End of era for all-powerful party". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Martinez, Fabiola (2006-09-01). "Indagará PGR origen de un acta de nacimiento del padre de Fox". El periódico de México. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  5. ^ Cincinnati, Ohio Directory, 1890-91 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, Inc., 2000. Original data: Cincinnati, OH, USA: Williams & Co., 1890.
  6. ^ "Vicente Fox". Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  7. ^ Milner, Kate (2000-07-03). "Profile: Vicente Fox". BBC. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  8. ^ BeleJack, Barbara (2001-02-16). "Live, from Guanjuato: It's President VICENTE FOX!". Texas Observer. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  9. ^ a b c Biography of Vicente Fox
  10. ^ "Vicente Fox: President Elect of Mexico". 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  11. ^ a b Biography of Vicente Fox, United Nations. (accessed January 20, 2010)
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ News | Fox is it
  17. ^ "Profile: Vicente Fox". BBC News. July 3, 2000. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  18. ^ Google Image Search
  19. ^ Google Image Search
  20. ^ "Mexican leader criticized for comment on blacks,", May 15, 2005.
  21. ^ a b "Vuelve Fox a incurrir en error cultural en discurso,", El Universal, México.
  22. ^ "Evo pide a Fox que no trate de humillarlo por presunta negativa a vender gas a México" 24 de Marzo de 2008.
  23. ^ "Cancela Fox, porque son “tiempos democráticos”, el desfile deportivo del 20 de noviembre; PRI considera que cedió la plaza a López 24 de Marzo de 2008.
  24. ^ Suspects in Ianiero murder likely Canadian: Fox March 29, 2006
  25. ^ A timeline of the case July 26, 2006
  26. ^ El Porvenir | Nacional | 'Puedo decir cualquier tontería... ya me voy: Fox
  27. ^ Fox incurre en error al felicitar a Vargas Llosa October 7, 2010
  28. ^ Wall, Allan. "Fox Redefines the Role of Past Mexican Presidents." (accessed January 20, 2010)
  29. ^ Gonzalez, Enrique Andrade, "The Final Days of Mexican President Vicente Fox" Mexidate.Info
  30. ^ Fox, Vicente. "Drugs, Money and Morality". IAI. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  31. ^ Hampton, Justin. "President Vicente Fox: The HIGH TIMES Interview". High Times. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  32. ^ Fox, Vicente. "For Mexico, legalization is freedom." (accessed February 18, 2014)
  33. ^ Fox, Vicente (February 17, 2014). "For Mexico, legalization is freedom". Toronto: Globe And Mail. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  34. ^ Clock ticking for Allyn on Fox book | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Arts & Entertainment
  35. ^ Fox reaparece en Los Ángeles; entre protestas, defiende logros - El Universal - México
  36. ^ "Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Debates Immigration Issue With Bill". Fox News. October 10, 2007. 
  37. ^ Entrevista con Vicente Fox causa polémica - Noticias - KVEA Los Angeles
  38. ^ Polémica por gira de Fox
  39. ^ Vicente Fox: Bush a "windshield cowboy" who's scared of horses | Corrente
  40. ^ AND Fox&siteelnorte Harán realidad a 'Foxilandia' by Grupo Reforma
  41. ^ > News > Mexico - Fox gets award for reform in Mexico
  42. ^ [1]
  43. ^ Metro | State
  44. ^ Interesa a IP 'Foxilandia' by Grupo Reforma
  45. ^ Callan sobre inversión en 'Foxilandia' by Grupo Reforma
  46. ^ Fox looks to cement his place in history | The San Diego Union-Tribune
  47. ^ [2]
  48. ^ Fox Center.
  49. ^ "UST Global in pact with Centro Fox of Mexico". The Hindu (Chennai, India). July 18, 2012. 
  50. ^ Portail d'informations Ce site est en vente!
  51. ^ La Prensa Latina » Blog Archive » Derriban estatua de Vicente Fox
  52. ^ "Protestors Tear Down Vicente Fox Statue". CBS News. October 14, 2007. 
  53. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 1711. Retrieved November 2012. 
  54. ^ Lithuanian Presidency website, search form

External links

  • Vicente Fox website during his Presidency
  • Vicente Fox Museum and Library
  • Extended bio and presidential tenure, by CIDOB Foundation
  • Vicente Fox Interview on George Stroumboulopoulos
  • Vicente Fox at the Internet Movie Database
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernesto Zedillo
President of Mexico
Succeeded by
Felipe Calderón
Preceded by
Co-President of Centrist Democrat International
Party political offices
Preceded by
Diego Fernández de Cevallos
PAN presidential candidate
Succeeded by
Felipe Calderón
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