During their last visit to Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto bestowed a very special honor upon the Monarchs of Spain: he made them Members of the Order of the Aztec Eagle.
Created on December 29th, 1933 by President Abelardo Rodríguez, the Order of the Aztec Eagle is a distinction that only foreigners can receive, in recognition for their services to Mexico or humanity. It is also granted to ‘reciprocate’ a foreign government when a similar honor is granted by another nation to a Mexican citizen.
According to the Prizes, Incentives and Civil Rewards Law of Mexico, only the President of Mexico – with the approval of a council headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and National Defense – can grant this distinction. The decoration has several classes:
Granted exclusively to heads of state. The collar of the Order is made up of 30 pieces of gold-plated silver, 15 of which are varnished with a turquoise back and decorated with the Mexico City Aztec emblem. The main piece of the collar is an Aztec eagle.
People who have received it: Fidel Castro, former President of Cuba; Luiz Inácio Lila da Silva, former president of Brazil; Queen Elizabeth II; José Mujica, former president of Uruguay.
Sash of Special Category
An award given only to chiefs of government, heirs apparent and consorts of heads of state.
People who have received it: Queen Sofía of Spain and Mariano Rajoy, current prime minister of Spain.
Made of yellow silk, decorated with a ribbon in its lower end. Attached to it is the medal of the Order. It is granted to ministers, secretaries of state, royal family members and ambassadors.
People who have received it: Edward Kennedy, United States Senator from Massachusetts; Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa; Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum.
Granted to secretaries or deputy ministers of State, consuls, brigadiers, counter admirals and vice admirals. The medal is decorated with a five pointed star. The insignia has five interior tips –simulating an Aztec shield. At the center of it there is a turquoise circle decorated with an Aztec eagle made of gold.
People who have received it: Bill Gates, co-founder Microsoft; Rigoberta Menchú, human rights activist; and Amartya Sen, Indian economist and philosopher.
Similar to the medal, it hangs from a golden ribbon that is worn on the neck. Granted to resident ministers, business holders, colonels, lieutenant colonels and captains.
People who have received it: Lathleen Ferrier, Dutch politician; and Peter Hartman, former CEO of KLM.
Golden disc decorated with a five point star. Turquoise circle with Aztec eagle in the middle of the insignia. Granted to counselors, second and third secretaries of embassy, lieutenants and all those with similar ranks or those the council deems appropriate.
People who have received it: Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, Placido Domingo, David Cameron and Paul David Hewson ‘Bono’.