|55th President of Mexico|
1 December 2000 - 30 November 2006
|Governor of Guanajuato|
25 September 1995 - 25 September 1999
|Carlos Medina Plascencia|
|Ramón Martín Huerta|
|Deputy of the Congress of the Union |
for the 3rd district of Guanajuato
1 September 1988 - 31 August 1991
|Héctor Hugo Varela Flores|
|Luis Arturo Torres del Valle|
|Co-President of Centrist Democrat International|
alongside Pier Ferdinando Casini
Vicente Fox Quesada|
2 July 1942
Mexico City, Mexico
Independent (since 2013)|
National Action (before 2013)
Lilian de la Concha (m. 1969; div. 1990)|
Marta Sahagún (m. 2001)
Harvard Business School
Vicente Fox Quesada, RSerafO (American Spanish: [bi'sente 'foks ke'saða]; born 2 July 1942) is a Mexican businessman and politician who served as the 55th President of Mexico from 1 December 2000 to 30 November 2006.
A right-wing populist, Fox ran for and was elected President on the National Action Party (PAN) ticket, which was an opposition party at the time of his election as president. He is currently the Co-President of the Centrist Democrat International, an international organization of center-right political parties.
Fox was elected President of Mexico in the 2000 presidential election, a historically significant election since it made him the first president elected from an opposition party since Francisco I. Madero in 1910. Fox finished in first place with 42 percent of the vote, thus becoming the first presidential candidate in 71 years to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
As president, he mostly followed the neoliberal economic policies that his PRI predecessors had adopted since the 1980s. The first half of his administration saw a further shift of the Federal government to the right, the granting of concessions to the Catholic clergy, the appointing of several members of the ultra-catholic Yunque in government posts, strong relations with the United States and George W. Bush, unsuccessful attempts to apply a value-added tax to medicines and to build an airport in Texcoco, and a major diplomatic conflict with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
The second half of his administration was marked by his conflict with the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, then Mexico City's Mayor. The PAN and the Fox administration unsuccessfully attempted to remove López Obrador from office and to prevent him from participating in the 2006 presidential elections. The Fox administration also got into diplomatic conflicts with Venezuela and Bolivia after supporting the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which was opposed by those two countries. His last year in office oversaw the controversial 2006 elections, where the PAN candidate Felipe Calderón was declared winner by a very narrow margin over his opponent López Obrador, who claimed that the elections were rigged and refused to recognize the results, calling for protests across the country. In the same year, the southern state of Oaxaca was the scene of a teacher's strike which culminated into protests and violent clashes asking for the resignation of governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
On the other hand, Fox was credited with maintaining economic growth during his administration, and reducing the poverty rate from 43.7% in 2000 to 35.6% in 2006.
After serving as president of Mexico for six years, Fox returned to his home state of Guanajuato, where he now resides with his wife and family. Since leaving the presidency, Fox has been involved in public speaking and the development of the Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum.
In 2013, Fox eventually decided to leave the National Action Party, after endorsing the PRI presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, the previous year. He again endorsed the PRI's candidate, José Antonio Meade, in 2018.
Vicente Fox was born on 2 July 1942 in Mexico City, the second of nine children. His father, José Luis Fox Pont, was a Mexican native. His mother, Mercedes Quesada Etxaide, was a Basque emigrant from San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, in Spain.
Previously, many had speculated that Fox was of Irish descent, but it was discovered that Vicente's grandfather was born Joseph Louis Fuchs in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was the son of German Catholic immigrants, Louis Fuchs and Catherina Elisabetha Flach, of Strasbourg, now in France. In the 1870s, the "Fuchs" surname was changed from German to its English equivalent, "Fox." The family was unaware of its German origins and they believed the Fox family had their origins in Ireland.
Fox spent his childhood and adolescence at the family ranch in San Francisco del Rincón in Guanajuato. He spent a year at Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin where he learned English. Upon reaching college age, Fox moved to Mexico City to attend the Universidad Iberoamericana and received a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1964. Then in 1974, Fox earned a diploma in Management Skills from the Harvard Business School in the United States.
In 1964, Fox was hired by the Coca-Cola Company as a route supervisor and drove a delivery truck. After nine years, he had risen to the top, serving as the President and Chief Executive of Coca-Cola Mexico; after six years in this role, he was invited to lead all of Coca-Cola's operations in Latin America, but Fox declined and later resigned from Coca-Cola in 1979. It was during the Fox's leadership of Coca-Cola Mexico that Coke became Mexico's top-selling soft drink, increasing Coca-Cola's sales by almost 50%.
After retiring from Coca-Cola, 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 also the president of the Patronato Loyola, a sponsor of the León campus of the Universidad Iberoamericana and of the Lux Institute.
In 1969, Fox married Lilian de la Concha, a receptionist at Coca-Cola. They had four children, Ana Cristina, Vicente, Paulina and Rodrigo. In 1990, after 20 years of marriage, Lilian filed for and was granted a divorce.
Fox remarried on 2 July 2001, while serving as President of Mexico, to Marta María Sahagún Jiménez (until then his spokesperson). The wedding date was the first anniversary of his presidential election and his 59th birthday. For both Fox and Sahagún Jiménez, it was their second marriage.
With the support of Manuel Clouthier, Vicente Fox joined the Partido Acción Nacional on 1 March 1988. That same year, he was elected to the federal Chamber of Deputies, representing the Third Federal District in León, Guanajuato.
In 1991, after serving in the Chamber of Deputies, Fox sought the governorship in Guanajuato, but lost the election 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. Four years later, Fox ran again, this time winning by a vote of 2 to 1. 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.
Fox also pushed for the consolidation of small firms, promoted the overseas sales of goods manufactured in Guanajuato, and created an extensive system of small loans to allow the poor to open a changaro (a small shop) and buy a car and a television. Under Fox, Guanajuato became the fifth most important Mexican state economy.
On 7 July 1997, after the opposition parties first won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, Vicente Fox decided to run for President of Mexico. In spite of opposition within his political 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 14 November 1999.
During the course of his campaign, a presidential debate was organized, but the three main contenders (Fox, Francisco Labastida of the PRI, and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of the PRD) disagreed on the details. One notable disagreement, which was broadcast on national television, was whether the presidential debate should be held that same day or on the following Friday.
During the nationally televised presidential debate, Fox's main opponent, Francisco Labastida, claimed that Fox had repeatedly called him a "sissy" and a "cross-dresser" ("La vestida", a pun on his last name). 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").
In addition to some debate controversies, Fox also faced some controversy due to Amigos de Fox (Friends of Fox), a non-profit fundraising group established by Denise Montaño. The group was instrumental in getting Vicente Fox elected President of Mexico, and the phrase "Amigos de Fox" was also used as a campaign slogan referring to the millions of people supporting Fox in the 2000 presidential election.
On 2 July 2000, his 58th birthday, Fox 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). Fox declared victory that same night, a victory which was ratified by then-President Zedillo. After the final results were announced, President-elect Fox addressed thousands of supporters and celebrated his victory with them at the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City. His opponents conceded the election later that night.
After securing the election, Fox received a substantial amount of media coverage, as well as numerous congratulatory messages and phone calls from world leaders, including then-President of the United States Bill Clinton. He took office as president on 1 December 2000, marking the first time since 1917 that an opposition candidate had taken power, putting an end to the priísta era.
During his campaign for president, Vicente Fox became well known for his unique cowboy style and charisma. As a speaker, Fox usually attracted big crowds in the early years of his presidency. At 193 cm (6 ft 4 in), Fox easily stood out in most crowds, and is believed to be one of the tallest presidents in Mexico's history. After his inauguration, President Fox usually wore suits for formal occasions, but opted to wear his signature boots and jeans during his many visits around Mexico.
Fox spread his image as one of peace and welcomed many to his own ranch in Guanajuato, Mexico. When Fox welcomed U.S. President George W. Bush to the ranch, both presidents were wearing Fox's signature black cowboy boots, prompting The Wall Street Journal to call it "The Boot Summit".
In terms of the significance of Fox's presidency, historian Philip Russell asserts that, "Marketed on television, Fox made a far better candidate than he did president. He failed to take charge and provide cabinet leadership, failed to set priorities, and turned a blind eye to alliance building." Russell also pointed to 2006 comments by political scientist Soledad Loaeza, who noted, "The eager candidate became a reluctant president who avoided tough choices and appeared hesitant and unable to hide the weariness caused by the responsibilities and constraints of the office." Russell also asserted that Fox "had little success in fighting crime. Even though he maintained the macroeconomic stability inherited from his predecessor, economic growth barely exceeded the rate of population increase. Similarly, the lack of fiscal reform left tax collection at a rate similar to that of Haiti . . . ." Finally, Russell noted that "during Fox's administration, only 1.4 million formal-sector jobs were created, leading to massive immigration to the United States and an explosive increase in informal employment." Ultimately, however, Russell concluded that Fox will be viewed by history as a transitional figure who was able to defeat one of Mexico's long-entrenched political parties.
After leaving office in December 2006, Fox has maintained himself in the public eye by speaking in countries such as Nigeria, Ireland, Canada, and the United States about topics such as the controversial 2006 election and the Iraq War. In Mexico, Fox has been criticized by some for his busy post-presidency since former Mexican presidents are traditionally expected to stay out of the political spotlight. In response, Fox has stated, "There is no reason to hold to the anti-democratic rules of those who still live in the authoritarian past . . . now that Mexico is a democracy, every citizen has the right to express himself, even a former president."
President Fox has also 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 though President Fox is still well-liked and left office with approval ratings of 70%, some in Mexico are wondering whether his support would result in candidates being elected.
Vicente Fox joined four other Latin American presidents at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland, to discuss the Telefónica Millennial Survey. He told those in the audience that eradicating corruption "has to start with education" and that his focus is now on promoting leadership.
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. 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, and whether to 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.
In February 2014, Fox wrote an opinion piece that was published in Toronto's Globe and Mail in which he stated that, "Legalization of not just marijuana, but all drugs, is the right thing to do." 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".
In 2016, Fox co-signed a letter to Ban Ki-moon calling for a more humane drug policy.
In July 2017, Fox was an international observer to the unofficial Venezuelan referendum held by the opposition. During the trip, Fox gave a speech that compared the referendum to the 2000 Mexican elections. He said that "this battle has been won" and "step by step, vote by vote, the dictator will leave." He was subsequently declared a persona non grata by the Venezuelan government. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said that Fox had taken advantage of the country's hospitality and "was paid to come to Venezuela to promote violence and the intervention of foreign powers." Moncado said the ban came from Maduro and criticized Fox and the other former Latin American leaders invited as observers (Andrés Pastrana, Jorge Quiroga, Laura Chinchilla and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez) as "political sicarios," "clowns" and "mercenaries" that "sell themselves to the highest bidder to go to various destinations and repeat what they are told." Fox said he was not surprised by the ban and that the vote would weaken Maduro.
In an interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos in February 2016, Fox responded to Trump's proposal to build a wall at the border between the United States and Mexico at Mexico's expense, declaring in English, "I am not going to pay for that fucking wall. He should pay for it. He's got the money." Fox went on to call Trump a "crazy guy" and a "false prophet," and questioned the claim that Trump received 44% of the Hispanic vote in the Republican caucus in Nevada. Trump took to Twitter in response, demanding that Fox apologize for using "the F word while discussing the wall." Fox eventually apologized for the remark, while also asking for Trump to apologize for his remarks about Mexicans and inviting Trump to visit Mexico.
Despite his apology, Fox continued to criticize Trump to the international media and troll Trump on Twitter, stating, "I'm committed to be Donald Trump's shadow until he is done with politics." When Trump visited Mexico on 31 August 2016 upon President Enrique Peña Nieto's invitation, Fox slammed the visit, calling it a "desperate move" on the part of Peña Nieto and stating, "He is not welcome in Mexico. We don't like him. We don't want him. We reject his visit." Trump responded by pointing out Fox's previous invitation, to which Fox clarified that he invited Trump to Mexico on the condition that he used the visit to apologize to the Mexican people. He directly addressed the American people the next day on CNN, where he described Trump as a "false prophet" who is "absolutely crazy" and warned that they need to "wake up" and realize the harm that Trump's immigration and economic policies would inflict on the United States.
Later in September 2016, The Washington Post reported that Fox had received multiple emails from Trump's campaign soliciting donations throughout the month. Fox received the first email on 9 September, which he posted on Twitter and responded, "Donald Trump, I won't pay for that fucking wall! Also, campaigning in Mexico? Running out of money and friends?" Fox received two additional emails on 24 and 27 September, both of which he also posted on Twitter and mocked as being "desperate" and "begging." The revelation of the emails has raised concern, as accepting campaign donations from foreign nationals is illegal in the United States.
During a September 2016 appearance on the radio show El Show de Piolín, Fox smashed a Trump piñata hanging on the streets of Los Angeles while loudly singing the traditional Piñata song. Upon breaking it open, Fox noted its lack of contents and remarked, "Empty. Totally Empty. He doesn't have any brains." Discussing the event during a subsequent interview with GQ, Fox expanded, "I had such a joy in my heart by doing that, because in Mexico, piñatas are very meaningful. Piñatas are a celebration. Piñatas let you send messages. And the message is: Trump is empty inside. He's empty in his head. That's why I put my hand into his head. There was no brain there. That's what he is, an empty person."
The day after Trump won the election, Fox wrote an editorial on the International Business Times website where he lamented Trump's victory and explored what Mexico could do in response. "Even though Trump is not the prettiest person in the room, we still have to dance with him. Now, we ought to look out for ourselves and find a way to work with the most powerful economy in the world, which is now led by an authoritarian racist[...]Donald Trump's promises have an expiration date. When the time comes to truly deliver to the American people, his "billion dollar show" will finally crumble beneath his feet," Fox wrote, concluding his editorial with, "I find quite sad that America, formerly the most open and cutting edge nation, has chosen to lock itself down inside concrete walls. It's tragic that fear, anger and wrath took over and pierced the hearts of their people. It will be hard to recover from this wound; but we better start working to heal as quickly as possible - and bring down the walls that blinded us in the beginning."
Fox has continued criticizing Trump on Twitter after the election. In a series of tweets in January 2017, Fox again criticized Trump's proposed Mexican border wall, calling it a "racist monument" and insisted that Mexico will never fund it, calling on Trump to "be honest with US taxpayers" about that fact. Following the release of a U.S. government intelligence report that accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 election to ensure Trump's victory, Fox tweeted, "Sr Trump, the intelligence report is devastating. Losing election by more than 3M votes and in addition this. Are you a legitimate president?" Fox further criticized Trump's response to the intelligence report, calling him a "bully" and a "bluff" and stating that Trump is "bringing in a new era of dictatorship." Though on 12 January, Fox broke with his criticism of Trump and simply tweeted, "America Will Survive."
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on 25 January 2017, and during an appearance on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show on 1 March 2017, Fox again asserted that Mexico should not have to pay for the wall.
In September 2017, Fox was once again in the news after President Trump announced he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months if the U.S. congress failed to pass legislation to address the issue. In response, Fox tweeted to President Trump's Twitter account, "Ending DACA is on the top of the vilest acts you've pulled off. You're destroying the legacy of greater men before you." In another tweet, Fox suggested that President Trump's DACA decision was a result of him compensating for earlier failures to pass healthcare legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. Fox then went on to post a video in which he claimed that President Trump had "failed America" and stated that "[t]his measure is cruel and heartless, worse than any machine. You're cancelling the future of 800,000 children and young people."
As Fox frequently use Twitter to response tweets by President Trump (with English tweets), he has attracted more than 1 million followers on his Twitter account.
Since May 2017, Fox has appeared in a series of humorous videos seriously denouncing Donald Trump, including "Vicente Fox is Running for President of the United States" (fake announcement for the candidacy) which was released in September.
Fox's autobiography, entitled Revolution of Hope: The Life, Faith and Dreams of a Mexican President, was released in September 2007. To promote its release, Fox toured many U.S. cities to do book-signings and interviews with U.S. media. During his tour, however, he faced protests from Mexican immigrants who accused him of actions that forced them to emigrate and find jobs in the United States. He faced the subject several times during interviews, such as one held with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, who questioned him about the massive illegal immigration problem of Mexicans into the United States. Finally, during an interview with Telemundo's Rubén Luengas, the interviewer asked Fox about allegations concerning some properties of Vicente Fox's wife, Marta Sahagún. After Fox explained the situation, he asked the interviewer not to make false accusations and to prove what he was saying. Luengas said, "I'm telling you in your face, I'm not a liar." After this, Fox walked out of the studio, calling the interviewer a "liar," "vulgar," and "stupid."
Upon the book's release, some readers viewed several excerpts as being highly critical of U.S. President George W. Bush, considered by many to be a close friend. For example, Fox wrote that Bush was "the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life," and claimed that he was surprised that Bush had ever made it to the White House. Later, in an interview with Larry King, Fox explained that this was a misunderstanding and that what he meant by calling George W. Bush "cocky" was to say he was "confident." 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.
This article needs to be updated.(January 2017)
On 12 January 2007, over a month after he left office, Fox announced the construction of a center of studies, library and museum that was labeled by the U.S. press as Mexico's first presidential library. 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. 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 open to the public. Fox's library will be modeled after the Bill Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, which, according to the former president, will allow Mexicans to enjoy, for the first time in Mexico's history, a liberty in which to review the documents, images and records that made up his six years as president.
According to the official website, the construction of the Center is in progress and advancing. Final completion of the library was expected by late 2007.
In 2015, Fox was interviewed by Peter High for Forbes at the library, which is called "Centro Fox" (the Fox Center). During the interview, Fox remarked that the guiding principle behind the library is that "[w]e are a Latin American center that is geared around ideas, leadership, and strategies. We do it through, number one, young kids. The middle-upper class and the rest have access to the best universities. But the broader constituency does not receive any messages or aspirations of happiness in life at home."
In addition to the library's completion, there has been some indications that Centro Fox was joining hands with UST Global to transform Mexico into a world-class technological economy. 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." These efforts appear to be ongoing.
On 20 September 2007, Fox was elected Co-President of the Centrist Democratic International (along with the re-elected Pier Ferdinando Casini) at its leaders' meeting in Rome. The CDI is the international organization of political parties that counts Fox's party, the National Action Party, as a member.
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 criticism from the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution towards Boca del Río's mayor, who was affiliated with the same political party (PAN) as Fox.
The statue was put in place amidst protests on the dawn of 13 October 2007. The inauguration was to have been held on 14 October. Some hours after the statue was erected, a crowd of about 100 people (many of whom were members of the PRI, the political party opposed to Fox and which Fox had defeated in the 2000 election) brought the statue down by putting a rope around the statue's neck and pulling it down, damaging it. The statue was put back in place for the inauguration, then taken away for repairs.
PAN members accused Veracruz's governor, Fidel Herrera Beltrán, of "ordering the attack on the statue," and Fox called the governor intolerant. Others in the media argued that the installation of the statue was inappropriate, since former President Fox was facing allegations relating to an illicit enrichment scandal at the time.
|Ancestors of Vicente Fox|
|Party political offices|
Diego Fernández de Cevallos
| PAN presidential candidate
| President of Mexico
| Co-President of Centrist Democrat International
| Chairperson of APEC