Carlos Salinas de Gortari (Spanish pronunciation: ) (born in Mexico City on April 3, 1948) is a Mexican economist and politician affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who served as President of Mexico from 1988 to 1994. Earlier in his career he worked in the Budget Secretariat all the way up to Secretary. He was the PRI presidential candidate in 1988, and was elected on July 6, 1988 amid allegations of electoral fraud.
Carlos Salinas was born in Mexico City as the son of Raúl Salinas Lozano and Margarita de Gortari Carvajal. He graduated with a degree in Economics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1969. He obtained a Master of Public Administration in 1973, a Master of Arts in 1976, and a PhD in Political Economy and Government in 1978, all from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Upon his return to Mexico he became a professor at his alma mater. Although a member of the PRI since his student days, it was not until the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid that he was assigned a government post as minister of the Bureau of Planning and Budget (Secretaría de Planeación y Presupuesto), where he served from 1982-1987.
The political atmosphere in Mexico began to change during the 1980s. The country was experiencing economic crisis, mainly caused by the splurges of previous administrations and a drastic drop in the price of oil, forcing the country into default. Several important members of the PRI resigned, among them Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the son of Lázaro Cárdenas, an extremely popular president of the 1930s. The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake, with its resulting 10,000 deaths, has been considered a catalyst for the promotion of democracy and the need for change. The De la Madrid administration provided a very inefficient response to the catastrophe, resulting in mass action from citizens who organized successful rescue teams, many of them led by prominent left-wing intellectuals.