López Portillo y Pacheco, José [key], 1920–2004, Mexican political leader and president (1976–82). A lawyer and university professor, he wrote novels and works on political theory. Entering government service in 1959, he held a series of posts, ultimately becoming (1973–75) finance minister under President Luis Echeverría Álvarez, whom he succeeded. As president, López Portillo developed Mexico's oil reserves, but his initially popular government became noted for its profligacy and corruption. By the end of his term, the collapse of oil prices had made Mexico unable to make payments on its debts, creating a international financial crisis. He also served as a mediator in Pan-American disputes.
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