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Notes on Manuel Avila Camacho and Miguel Alemán, 1940-1946

Manuel Avila Camacho (1940-46)

From Puebla. General in the Revolution. He was known as "The Gentleman President." During the 1940 presidential election, when asked about his views of the Church-State conflict, he stated "Soy Creyente, " (I am a believer), thus pacifying some Catholic opponents. His opposition from the right was General Juan Andreu Almazán and from the left, Francisco Múgica. The Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), formed in 1939, had no candidate but many of its members supported Almazán. The quasi-fascist movement, Sinarquismo, was of great concern to liberal and conservative politicians, in part because of the mystery surrounding it, but it did not play an important role in the election, which was a foregone conclusion.

During his presidency, 12 million acres of land was redistributed. He reduced the constitutional demand for "socialist education" by appointing a conservative as Secretary of Education. Before his term ended, Article 3 requiring that education be "socialist" was amended to change "socialist" to scientific. Fidel Velásquez, with the support of the Avila Camacho administration, became head of the Confederación de Trabajadoes Mexicanos, the nation's largest union. Velásquez wsas not as radical as the former leader, Vicente Lombardo Toledano. The Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS) was created in 1943. In World War II, Mexico was pro-Allied. In December, 1941, Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the Axis. In 1942, German submarines torpedoed two Mexican oil tankers. War declared. In September, 1942, Avila Camacho called together all the ex-presidents and dislayed them on a balcony of the National Palace to demonstrate unity. He brought ex-president Lázaro Cárdenas into his government as Secretary of War. Secretary of Government Miguel Alemán was charged with preventing subversion. Mexico cooperated extensively weith the ion with US. It sent a fighter squadron to the Pacific; rearranged its economy to produce for the war effort; and agreed to the bracero program, the sending Of workers to the US.

The government launched it import substitution plan, protecting Mexican enterprises against foreign ones with the goals of substituted domestic manufactures for imports. Nacional Financiera, the development bank, was established in 1933. A new charter in 1940 gave it the power to regulate national securities market in addition to making loans.

In 1942, the Confederación Nacional de Industrias de Transformación (CNIT) was created; it represented the "new" manufacturers, many of which were created because of the war.

In 1944, a law was passed to require that the majority of the capital in mixed-enterprise firms be Mexican.

National income in 1940was 6.4 billion pesosand rose by 1945 to 18.6 billion.

In 1946, the Partido Revolucionario Instituicional was created from the Partido de la revolución Mexicana, representing a shift in emphasis. The revolution was now considered permanent.

In the 1946 elections, Ezequiel Padilla, a former cabinet official "lost" to Miguel Alemán. The PAN elected its first deputies

Miguel Alemán, 1946-52

He was conservative and pro-business. His regime was noted for its corruption. The military budget was reduced to less than 10% of total. By 1952, about 7% of the budget was being spent for public works such as the Morelos dam on the Colorado river, the Falcón in the lower Rio Gande valley, on modernizing the railway system, paving roads from Mexico City to Alcapulco and the Pan-American highway. Completed paved roads increased from 2,500 miles to 10,000 miles by 1952. Tremendous expansion of electricity. The oil monopoly, PEMEX, expanded. Bought Gulf Oil's Mexican holdings. The government used cheap electricty and low taxes to further economic development. Alemán built the Ciudad Universitaria for the national university south of Mexico City.