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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MEXICO - Benito Juarez: Anniversary of the birth of Benito Juarez a National Holiday

The Beloved President Benito Juárez
Benito Pablo Juárez García  (March 21, 1806–July 18, 1872) was a Zapotec/Amerindian who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872.

Benito Juárez was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background, and also the first full-blooded indigenous national ever to serve as President of Mexico and to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere.

For resisting the French occupation, overthrowing the Empire, and restoring the Republic, as well as for his efforts to modernize the country, Juárez is often regarded as one of Mexico's greatest and most beloved leaders. In addition to Mexico's national holiday on March 15, several towns, schools, parks, streets and monuments have been named to honor and remember him.

As with many historic figures, his clean image and some of his achievements are more myth than reality. During his presidency, Juárez was also known for refusing to leave power, manipulating election results and moving against political enemies. In fact, Juárez managed to hold to power for 14 years, second only to Porfirio Diaz. Ironically, many of the military battles that allowed Juárez to remain in power and win his reputation as a historical figure were actually won by Diaz himself who is today vilified by Mexican history.