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Template:Infobox MexicanPresident

Plutarco Elías Calles (25 September 187719 October 1945) was President of Mexico from 1924 to 1928.

Calles founded the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (National Revolutionary Party, or PNR) – which would later rename itself the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – in 1929.

He was born as Plutarco Elías 1877 in Guaymas, Sonora, son of a prominent man of Lebanese descent. However prominent his father was, Calles still grew up in poverty and deprivation. He took the last name of Calles from the uncle who raised him after the death of his mother, Maria de Jesús Campuzano. Calles worked many different jobs from a bartender to a schoolteacher. Calles supported many different presidents to maintain political clout. He was a strong supporter of Francisco Madero, who made Calles a police commissioner, and his ability to align himself with political winners allowed him to quickly move up the ranks, especially amid the anti-Catholic movement of the Mexican Revolution, attaining the rank of General in the military forces opposing Victoriano Huerta.

Venustiano Carranza promoted Calles to governor and military ruler of his home state Sonora from 191516. In 1920 Calles aligned himself with Álvaro Obregón to overthrow Carranza, and Obregon named him head of the interior ministry. Calles used his ability to draw in labor class votes to come to power with Obregon, and subsequently as president of Mexico from 192428. During his term, he brought the PNR into power.

On 14 June 1926, the stridently secularist Calles signed a decree known officially as "The Law Reforming the Penal Code" and unofficially as the Calles Law. The Calles Law fined those wearing church decorations up to 500 pesos and up to 5 years in prison for questioning the law. Due to these strict laws people in strongly Catholic areas began to oppose him, and this opposition led to the Cristero War from 192629. Calles sponsored the Callistas, prominent financiers and industrialists who controlled Mexico's economy at the time. He became the Jefe Máximo, the political chieftain of Mexico. After his term, he effectively controlled the government until 1934, with many regarding Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, and Abelardo Rodríguez as his puppets. Officially, after 1929, he served as Minister of War, as he continued to suppress the rebellion of the Cristero War.

In 1934, Calles selected his old wartime subordinate Lázaro Cárdenas as presidential candidate, on the false assumption he could control Cardenas as he had with his predecessors. Calles became more and more right-wing as his power grew, and was known to have been moving toward fascism. He was reportedly reading Mein Kampf when placed under arrest under the order of President Cárdenas and deported with many of his collaborators on 9 April 1936 to the United States. Calles was allowed to return to Mexico by the moderate Manuel Ávila Camacho in 1941, and lived quietly in Mexico City until his death.

Despite his reputation as an elitist strongman, he is honored with statues in Sonoyta and Guaymas in Sonora, and the official name of the municipality of Sonoyta is named General Plutarco Elías Calles in his honor.


Preceded by:
Álvaro Obregón
President of Mexico
1924–1928
Succeeded by:
Emilio Portes Gil

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