Mexican President Lopez Portillo (1976-82) and his 1980 Plan for Mexican Food Self-Sufficiency
Lyndon LaRouche's friend, Jose Lopez Portillo,
during his 1976-1982 presidency, proposed a Mexican Food System
(or SAM, for its Spanish acronym) which detailed how Mexico must,
and could, attain food self-sufficiency and dramatically improve
the level of consumption of Mexico's poor.
In a March 1, 1980 memo drafted by the Office of Advisers of
the President, an ambitious, can-do physical-economic proposal is
detailed, which in its prescience reads like it could have been
written yesterday. Like most of Lopez Portillo's actions--
including his October 1982 United Nations speech, and his break
earlier that year with the policies of the IMF that were
strangling Mexico--it serves as a useful aide memoire for those
who wish to seriously address the current systemic breakdown
crisis, including the food catastrophe.
The 1980 memo begins with a "Strategic Outlook" which says
that Mexico should take advantage of its recent giant oil
discoveries, and move to achieve "a rapid increase in the
production of basic food, and the multiple means of supporting
the consumption of the impoverished majorities of Mexico.... We
propose an ambitious scheme of production of basic foods, aiming
The memo continues: "The viability of Mexico seems to
increasingly assert itself, in a world in crisis where grave
confrontations are being prepared.... We have a favorable energy
situation which allows us to eliminate restrictions to
development and financial sovereignty.... Our government has the
perhaps unrepeatable and unique possibility of satisfying,
without unnecessary concessions, our great potential for growth,
broadening the productive base and the internal market, thereby
establishing the solid bases of sovereignty and of an efficient
and powerful economy....
"We now have the elements needed to grow without the
restraints of foreign strangulation and financial servitude....
Only by the route of massively producing and distributing basic
foods, can the country organize itself to save its agriculture."
"A policy of self-sufficiency in basic foods, above all
cereals and oilseeds, is necessary.... We believe that the `wage
commodity' par excellence, food, cannot be subjected to the whims
of foreign supply.... We also see that, in this case, the
premises of `comparative advantage'...must be subordinated to the
need to take a step towards a real and efficient potential of
producing basic grains....
"In point of fact, five or 6 firms, mostly American, control
nearly 85% of the world market in grains...."
The document's strategic overview concludes by decrying "the
real deterioration observed in the nutrition of more than half of
the planet's inhabitants over the last decade, as the FAO has