It was with regret that I learned of the departure of Don José Carral Escalante (alias “Pepe”) at the advanced age of 99 years. I had the honor of meeting him on the recommendation of Raúl Martínez Ostos Jr., an expert in film and communication and director of Channel 13 for some time. Raúl decided to donate the papers of his illustrious father to the Banco de México’s historical archive and that is how the project of making a biographical book about his profile arose. Pepe Carral had been a great friend of Don Raúl Martínez Ostos in life and he turned out to be the most important testimonial source for that biographical book, which was published in 2008 under the editorial seal of the Fondo de Cultura Económica.
Very intelligent and with great perceptual alertness, Pepe Carral described his friend Raúl Martínez Ostos, now deceased, as an outstanding and versatile individual: a man with “many hats”. In that evocation he remembered his colleague as a promoter, financier, businessman, intellectual and scholar. But without realizing it, those complimentary qualifiers were also applicable to him, almost like a glove.
It should not be surprising that in life Raúl Martínez Ostos and José Carral made crumbs and promoted investment projects together. In his capacity as a very bright and creative deputy director of Nacional Financiera, Don Raúl had defined and worked out the formula for financing countless investment projects that ultimately were of great benefit to Mexico. Those interested in the subject can consult the aforementioned biographical book that the FCE generously published.
Pepe Carral also detected and promoted very important economic development projects for the benefit of Mexico. He did so from his high position as representative in the country of the very powerful Bank of America. He did it with very high professional dexterity, personal discretion and patriotism. The development of Mexico required then, and continues to require, to attract capital from abroad. The latter, Don Pepe explained to me didactically, because the imported component of investments has to be financed with external credit.
Sometimes I met for lunch with Don Pepe Carral at the Club de Industriales, of which he was president for decades, in the company of his also friend, the historian Enrique Krauze. Great privilege to have alternated with two of the smartest people in Mexico in recent times. Rest in peace Don Pepe Carral. Fortunately, Enrique subsists with us.