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Raul Salinas Lozano, 87; Father of Former Mexican President

February 24, 2004|From Associated Press

Raul Salinas Lozano, a prominent figure in several Mexican governments and the father of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, died Monday of pneumonia, his family reported. He was 87.

Salinas Lozano was born in the northern city of Monterrey. He studied economics at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City and later at Harvard, where he earned a master's degree.

Returning to Mexico, he taught at universities and worked in a series of government economic and planning posts.

He served as secretary of economy under President Adolfo Lopez Mateos and later was a federal senator. He played a key role in two major eras of Mexican economic policy. As Mexico tried to build domestic industry by limiting imports, he oversaw the laws demanding that a majority of each car sold in Mexico be built in the country.

Salinas Lozano later was involved in crafting a free-trade policy for Mexico, helping plan its entry into what evolved into the World Trade Organization.

Despite his distinguished career, he was best known to most Mexicans for the triumphs and tragedies of his children.

His second son, Carlos, was Mexico's president from 1988 to 1994, overseeing its entry into the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Widely popular during his term, Carlos Salinas saw his reputation plummet when Mexico's economy crashed only weeks after he left office.

Within months, Carlos Salinas had fled Mexico and his elder brother Raul Salinas de Gortari was imprisoned. The latter eventually was convicted of masterminding the murder of his former brother-in-law and is on trial on charges of having diverted public funds into private Swiss bank accounts.

Raul Salinas denied any role in the murder and said the money in Switzerland was an investment fund provided by friends.

Investigators never charged Carlos Salinas in the murder or corruption cases, and he has returned to Mexico after spending much of the last decade in Ireland.

The businesses of two other brothers, Enrique and Sergio, also were investigated by European or Mexican officials, though no charges were brought against them.

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