Governor Raul H. Castro Documentary and Educational Materials

Honorable Raúl Héctor Castro, the first and only Mexican-American Governor of Arizona (1975-1977) has served in both elected and non-elected public offices, including Pima County Attorney and the United States Ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina. 

The Center for Latin American Studies is proud to administer the Raúl H. Castro Scholarship Fund and to have co-sponsored a documentary on his life entitled Raúl H. Castro: Two Cultures, Many Challenges, directed by Sy Rotter and Luis Carlos Romero-Davis.  Complimentary copies of the film can be requested by contacting the UA Center for Latin American Studies at 520-626-7242 or  

Biography – Arizona Governor Raul H. Castro

 Born in Cananea, Mexico, on June 12, 1916, Castro lived in his native land until 1918, when he moved to Arizona and later became an American citizen. Through physical labor, he saved enough to enter Arizona State Teachers College in Flagstaff, where he graduated in 1939. He worked for the U.S. State Department as a foreign service clerk at Agua Prieta, Mexico, for five years, but never forgot his dream of becoming a lawyer.

Accepted by the University of Arizona Law College, Castro earned his Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the state bar in 1949. After practicing law in Tucson for two years, he became a deputy Pima County attorney. In 1954, he was elected county attorney and served until 1958, when he became a Pima County Superior Court Judge.

His national stature grew over the years, and in 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Castro as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador. Four years later he served as Ambassador to Bolivia. He returned to Tucson in 1969 to specialize in international law.

Castro continued his rise to the top in Arizona. He first ran for governor in 1970 on the Democratic ticket, advocating for the environment and bilingual education. He lost to Jack Williams in one of Arizona’s closest elections. In 1974, Castro ran again for governor, this time winning the election to become Arizona’s first, and only, Mexican-American governor. He served as governor for two years, but ended his term early when he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Ambassador to Argentina. He served as Ambassador to Argentina until 1980.

Following his career in public service, Castro returned to Arizona to practice international law. He and his wife Patricia have two daughters, Beth Castro and Mary Pat James. 


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