governor and political party leader
born amelia garcía medina, on october 6, 1951, in the city of zacatecas, mexico; daughter of Francisco García Estrada (politician) and Concepción Medina; Children: Claudia Sofia Corichi Garcia. Education: She attended college in the city of Zacatecas, c. late 1960s; She earned degrees in Sociology from the National Autonomous University (Mexico City), 1972, and History from the Autonomous University (Puebla), 1976.
addresses: office—c/o embassy of mexico, 1911 pennsylvania ave. northwest, washington, dc 20006.
social and political activist, and active in the Mexican communist and socialist parties; founding member of the party of the democratic revolution (prd), 1989; general congresswoman, later federal senator; elected leader of the prd, 1999; elected governor of zacatecas, 2004.
Mexican politician amalia garcía, elected governor of the state of zacatecas in 2004, is also the first woman to lead a major political party in her country. since 1999 she has led the party of the democratic revolution, or prd, one of the three main political parties in her country. political analysts describe the longtime activist as a skilled alliance builder and potential future presidential candidate. “She is the model of what a modern Mexican politician should be,” political science professor Luis Miguel Rionda told the dallas morning news writer Ricardo Sandoval. “She knows how to dialogue with the different factions of her party and with leaders of other parties. Not many in Mexico can do that today. ”
García’s political skills seem inherited. Her father, Francisco García Estrada, became governor of Zacatecas in 1956, when she was five years old. Before that, her grandfather had been mayor of the city of Zacatecas. When her father became an ambassador, she took the family with him, and Garcia grew up in the capital cities of Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and then Poland. she was in warsaw in 1968 when she and her family watched the news about the tlatelolco massacre in mexico city on polish tv. Some 5,000 university students and their supporters had gathered in a large plaza in the Tlatelolco area of the city, but the army fired live ammunition into the crowd, killing dozens. Garcia urged her parents to return home, which they did, and the tragic incident spurred a lifelong commitment to social and political reform for her.
García spent his college years in the city of Zacatecas and then at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City, where he was active in the movement for student rights. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1972 and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the Autonomous University of Puebla in 1976. An active member of the Mexican Communist Party and later of the Socialist Party organization, he participated in various projects, including membership in a committee that worked to draw attention to the plight of political prisoners in mexico.
García came of age in a Mexico that was undergoing tremendous social and political changes. it was not until the mid-1970s that the country finally rescinded a law that allowed husbands to forbid their wives from working outside the home. Women were still a rare presence within the political sphere when Garcia was a young woman. But her generation was also moving forward and pushing for more reforms, especially in the political arena: Her father’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), had controlled the country since 1929, and its members held nearly every seat in the country. Important positions. however, the PRI had also earned a reputation for deep-seated corruption.
A new political party, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), emerged after allegations of widespread electoral fraud by the PRI in the 1988 presidential election. Garcia was a founding member of the new party, which quickly gained support popular for his center-left platform that supported both free-market economic reforms and progressive social issues. In the early 1990s, she served as a general congresswoman and later became a US senator. As a legislator, she championed the passage of new laws mandating harsher penalties for assaulting women.
García also successfully urged the adoption of a PRD rule stating that no more than 70 percent of a PRD administration could be dominated by any one gender; in effect, an affirmative action policy for women within the party structure. She ran for party presidency in 1996, but lost to a colleague, and spent the next three years working to build alliances in various constituencies with the National Action Party, or PAN, the third largest party in Mexican politics. In 1999 she ran for party leadership again and this time she won. Her electoral victory made her the first woman to lead a major political party in Mexican history.
García assumed the leadership of the PRD at a time when the party was bitterly divided into factions led by its two founders, now political adversaries, but he continued to lead efforts to build alliances with the PAN. By the year 2000, PRD governors ruled four of Mexico’s 31 states thanks to that strategy, and PRI control seemed to be eroding. “We are changing an authoritarian regime that is now forced to speak and dialogue with other powers,” he said in an austin american-statesman interview with susan ferriss. “That’s new in Mexico.”
García ran for office in 2004, defeating a PRI candidate for the same governorship as his father, and was sworn in for a six-year term. But a lot had changed in Zacatecas by then: an overwhelming number of its residents leave to look for work in the United States; Statistics show that approximately half of its three million residents live in the United States, many of them parents, siblings, and children. in 2003, they sent some $480 million to the state of zacatecas alone to support families there.
garcía pledged to improve economic conditions and job growth in zacatecas by fostering new initiatives. both before and after his election, he traveled regularly to meet with constituents living in cities like dallas and los angeles. While there, he encouraged Mexican-American business leaders there to invest in companies in Zacatecas and other states, but his visits were also an acknowledgment that his official constituency now lived on both sides of the border: A recently enacted Mexican law allowed to those who lived in the united states to return home to vote in the elections, and the 2004 ballot given to him by the governorship was the first to include these votes. “I consider zacatecas as a binational state,” she told new york times journalist ginger thompson. “Although the reasons why our people have emigrated are painful, these people have guaranteed our social stability.”
“Governadora” Garcia is only the third woman elected to lead a Mexican state since women won the right to vote in 1953, and observers of Latin American politics predict she could run in the 2012 presidential race His daughter, Claudia Sofia Corichi Garcia, is a PRD staff member and is also likely to run for office one day.
austin american-statesman, February 20, 2000, p. a2.
Christian Science Monitor, 1999 Jul 30, p. 1.
dallas morning news, October 28, 2004.
Houston Chronicle, July 6, 2004, p. 1.
New York Times, February 23, 2005.
seattle post-intelligencer, January 31, 2000, p. a2.