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.
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.
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).
- The highway between Puerto Vallarta and Compostela (going to Tepic).
- A 1,600 ft 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).
He was also a tireless advocate for the coast of Jalisco, where he promoted the arrival of the big chains, made a deepwater port and promoted the city internationally with a summit meeting between the President of Mexico, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and the President United States, Richard Nixon in Puerto Vallarta on August 20, 1970. (Ref. VisitPuertoVallarta.com).