The former leader of Mexico's powerful SNTPRM oil workers unions, Joaquin Hernandez Galicia, died Monday in the northeastern city of Tampico, media outlets said. He was 91.

The death of the man known as "La Quina" came around 6 a.m., two weeks after he was hospitalized.

Hernandez Galicia's reign over the SNTPRM ended abruptly on Jan. 10, 1989, when Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari ordered his arrest in a military operation that bypassed the normal legal channels.

Later, Hernandez Galicia was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison on what he said were trumped-up charges of murder and illegal weapons possession.

In 1997, under a new president, the erstwhile union chief benefitted from an amnesty and was released, although he never regained the prominence and influence he had enjoyed in the past.

"What brought down La Quina is that he went too far," given that he did not support Salinas, historian Lorenzo Meyer told MVS radio Monday.

Many thought that the actual winner of the 1988 presidential election was Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, son of President Lazaro Cardenas, who nationalized Mexico's oil industry during his 1934-1940 term, creating state petroleum monopoly Pemex.

Hernandez Galicia was suspected of secretly supporting Cuauhtemoc Cardenas because he feared Salinas wanted to privatize Pemex.

After he fell into disgrace, the leadership of the oil workers union was taken over by Carlos Romero Deschamps, who has continued to remain in charge until now despite recurrent complaints linking him with acts of corruption. EFE