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Jorge Castañeda Gutman

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Jorge Castañeda Gutman

Jorge Castañeda
Castañeda at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in 2011
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
In office
December 1, 2000 – January 10, 2003
President Vicente Fox
Preceded by Rosario Green
Succeeded by Luis Ernesto Derbez
Personal details
Born (1953-05-24) May 24, 1953
Mexico City
Political party Independent
Alma mater Princeton University
Profession Professor, Politician

Jorge Germán Castañeda Gutman (born May 24, 1953) is a Mexican politician and academic who served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs (2000–2003).

He also authored more than a dozen books, including a biography of Che Guevara, and he regularly contributes to newspapers such as Reforma (Mexico), El País (Spain), Los Angeles Times (USA) and Newsweek magazine.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Academic books 2
  • Political career 3
  • Presidential candidacy 4
    • Castañeda's Court appeal 4.1
  • 5 Articles
  • Bibliography 6

Early life and education

Castañeda was born in José López Portillo.

He received the French Baccalauréat from the Lycée Franco-Mexicain in Mexico City. Then after receiving his B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Economic History from the University of Paris (Panthéon-La Sorbonne) he worked as a professor at several universities, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University, New York University, and the University of Cambridge. He was a Bernard Schwartz fellow at The New America Foundation.

He was married to Miriam Morales (a Chilean citizen) and he has one son, Jorge Andrés.

Academic books

Among his books is Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War (Vintage Books, 1993), an assessment of leftist politics in Latin America. The book has had a wide readership for its sometimes controversial overview of left-leaning politics in the region post-1990. Its main theme is a shift from politics based on the Cuban Revolution to politics based on broad-based new social movements, from armed revolutions to elections.

Another of Castañeda's well-known works is Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara, which analyzes the Argentine Marxist revolutionary.

Political career

Castañeda's political career began as a member of the Mexican Communist Party but he has since moved to the political center. He served as an advisor to Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas during his (failed) presidential campaign in 1988 and advised Vicente Fox during his (successful) presidential campaign in 2000. After winning the election, Fox appointed Castañeda as his Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Following a number of disagreements with other cabinet members he left the post in January 2003 and began traveling around the country, giving lectures and promoting his ideas.

Presidential candidacy

On March 25, 2004, Castañeda officially announced his presidential campaign by means of a prime-time campaign advertisement carried in all major Mexican television stations.

Castañeda presented himself as an independent "citizens' candidate", a move contrary to Mexico's electoral law that gives registered parties alone the right to nominate candidates for election.

Castañeda's Court appeal

In 2004 Castañeda started to seek Court authorization to run in the country's 2006 presidential election without the endorsement of any of the registered political parties. In August 2005 the Supreme Court ruled against Castañeda's appeal. The ruling essentially put an end to Castañeda's bid to run as an independent candidate; however, soon after this ruling he took his case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in order to defend his political rights; as of 2008, the case is pending before the IACHR.


He has published articles in Newsweek. In 2009, he published a theory about the 2009 dismissals by Raúl Castro, suggesting that Hugo Chávez was plotting a coup in Cuba due to concerns that Raul Castro would make concessions that would betray the Cuban Revolution. He has an article in the September–October 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs entitled "Not Ready for Prime Time". He also writes regularly for Project Syndicate.


  • Nicaragua: Contradicciones en la Revolución. (1980)
  • Los últimos capitalismos. El capital financiero: México y los "nuevos países industrializados" (1982)
  • México: El futuro en juego. (1987)
  • Limits on friendship: United States and Mexico. (1989) Co-authored with Robert A. Pastor.
  • La casa por la ventana. (1993)
  • The Mexican Shock. (1995)
  • Utopia unarmed. (1995)
  • The Estados Unidos Affair. Cinco ensayos sobre un "amor" oblicuo. (1996)
  • La vida en Rojo, una biografía
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