Luis Donaldo Colosio Biography

Luis Donaldo Colosio, a prominent Mexican politician and economist, rose to prominence as the chosen successor of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. With a strong political association with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Colosio held positions such as chairing the PRI National Executive Committee and heading the Secretariat of Social Development. Despite facing challenges during his presidential campaign, including the overshadowing presence of former foreign minister Manuel Camacho, Colosio emerged as the favorite and was nominated for the 1994 elections. Tragically, he was assassinated shortly after, causing political instability in Mexico. The investigation into his murder was highly controversial, with multiple versions presented but none proven to be true.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta
  • Died At Age: 44
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Diana Laura Riojas (m. 1982)
    • Father: Luis Colosio Fernández
    • Mother: Ofelia Murrieta Armida García
    • Siblings: Claudia Colosio Murrieta, Laura Elena Colosio Murrieta, Marcela Colosio Murrieta, Martha Colosio Murrieta, Víctor Manuel Colosio Murrieta
    • Children: Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, Mariana Colosio Riojas
  • Born Country: Mexico
  • Economists
  • Political Leaders
  • Died on: March 23, 1994
  • Place of death: Tijuana, Mexico
  • Notable Alumni: Tecnológico De Monterrey, Instituto Tecnológico Y De Estudios Superiores De Monterrey
  • Cause of Death: Assassination
  • More Facts
  • Education: University Of Pennsylvania, Instituto Tecnológico Y De Estudios Superiores De Monterrey, Tecnológico De Monterrey

Childhood & Early Life

Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta was born on February 10, 1950, in Magdaleno de Kino, Sonora, Mexico, to Luis Colosio Fernández and Ofelia Murrieta Armida García. His father was a meat packer and self-educated accountant. Colosio graduated from the ‘Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey’ and joined the ‘Institutional Revolutionary Party’ (PRI) in 1972. He then pursued postgraduate studies at the ‘University of Pennsylvania’ and lived in Vienna for a year. Colosio completed his PhD from the ‘International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis’ in Austria and returned to Mexico.

Political Career

Colosio joined the office of the ‘Ministry of Budget and Planning’ under the PRI presidential candidate Carlos Salinas de Gortari in 1979. He became a federal deputy from Sonora in 1985 and served on the PRI ‘National Executive Committee’ in 1987. Colosio was appointed as the manager of Salinas’s presidential campaign and became the PRI party head. He served as the PRI president from 1988 to 1992 and was named the head of the ‘Secretariat of Social Development’ (SEDESOL) by Salinas in 1992. However, Colosio failed to prevent the anti-government uprising in Chiapas in 1994. In November 1993, he was nominated as the PRI candidate for the presidential election scheduled for August 1994.

Presidential Campaign

Colosio’s campaign faced challenges due to negotiations between Manuel Camacho and the ‘E.Z.L.N.’ guerrillas in Chiapas. Camacho was Colosio’s main rival for the PRI candidacy and created media sensation. However, the PRI and Salinas supported Colosio, leading to his famous declaration, ”No se hagan bolas: el candidato es Colosio.” The cold war between Camacho and Colosio ended when Salinas intervened, pressurizing Camacho to withdraw his candidacy. Colosio’s win was assured after Camacho’s withdrawal.


On March 23, 1994, Colosio attended a campaign rally in Tijuana, where he was shot twice and pronounced dead a few hours later. Mario Aburto Martinez was arrested as the sole shooter, but there were controversies surrounding the investigation. The theory of more than one shooter was rejected, and Aburto was declared the sole culprit. However, the public and media believed there were two shooters, and the controversy continues to this day.


Colosio’s assassination brought instability to the Mexican political system. Salinas had to declare Ernesto Zedillo as the PRI candidate, as the party was restricted by the constitutional law. Zedillo won the presidential campaign and served until 2000. The investigation into Colosio’s assassination was reopened but produced no proper evidence. Colosio’s legacy is remembered through a thriller film and a song composed by the Mexican rock group ‘El Tri.’

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