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Francisco Medina Ascencio by Rubén Orozco Loza

Francisco Medina Ascencio

Some like to say John Huston and his gang of decadent Hollywood actors brought Puerto Vallarta out into the limelight and transformed it into the tourist destination it is today, others, based more on facts and reality would point to Francisco Medina Ascencio as the main cause.

One of the newest sculptures in town is the one honoring the man who really made Puerto Vallarta what it is today, Francisco Medina Ascencio (1910-1993). The sculptor is Rubén Orozco Loza, an artist from Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Yes, yes, Huston, Burton and Taylor, they did their part, but nothing would have really changed if Puerto Vallarta hadn't been ready to grow, that meant bridges, roads, an airport, funds and infrastructure in general.

Francisco Medina Ascencio by Ruben Orozco Loza

That's why on Jan 4th , 2013, with the presence of his son and various important local and state authorities, in recognition of his unfailing efforts for Puerto Vallarta during his term as Governor of Jalisco (from March 1, 1965 to February 28, 1971), a sculpture of Francisco Medina Ascencio was unveiled in the way into town when driving in from Nayarit.

As one of the final initiatives of the prior Governor of Jalisco, Emilio González Marquez, the ceremony emphasized the legacy of Francisco Medina Ascencio. As governor Francisco Medina Ascencio elevated Puerto Vallarta to "city" in 1968, something that made it suddenly target of Federal and State funds for development of its infrastructure, plus, this made private investment in Vallarta a better bet and many started building hotels, restaurants and stores in town. A clearer idea of this incredible development is obtained by comparing 1968 stats with those of 1970.

  Population Hotel rooms Tourists
1968 17,740 749 55,451
1970 35,911 1,310 157,541
Ref. Panorama Histórico de Puerto Vallarta y de la Bahía de Banderas, 1997. Carlos Munguía Fregoso.

He is considered by many as the man behind the modern era of this city, his contributions are, among others:

  • Improvements to Puerto Vallarta's International Airport that had been built in 1962.
  • The road from Barra de Navidad to Puerto Vallarta (connecting with the future Costa Alegre).
  • Highway between Puerto Vallarta and Compostela (going to Tepic).
  • A 1,600 foot bridge over the Ameca river.
  • Adding an electrical substation connected to the Western electrical grid, with capacity for growth.
  • The first harbor in Jalisco, at El Salado.
  • Adding telephone and international lines (even before Guadalajara, the state capital).

Francisco Medina Ascencio

He was also a tireless advocate for the coast of Jalisco, where he promoted the arrival of the big chains, made a deep water port, and promoted the city internationally with a summit meeting between the President of Mexico, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and President United States, Richard Nixon in Puerto Vallarta on August 20, 1970. (Ref. VisitPuertoVallarta.com).


View Sculptures of Puerto Vallarta in a larger map

The sculpture is located on the way into town, close to the big colorful Puerto Vallarta sign when driving in from the neighboring state of Nayarit.

Some videos from the unveiling event:

Author: Mogens Gallardo

Back to the sculpture menu

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Downtown Photo Gallery

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