Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican mogul Carlos Slim Helú is now the world’s richest man, according to a report by Forbes Magazine released yesterday. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet trailed Slim in second and third place, respectively.
Slim amassed his wealth from numerous businesses, but he is most famous for his telecommunications holdings. He bought formerly state-owned Teléfonos de México (Telmex) in 1990. His América Móvil is the largest cell phone operator in Latin America, according to Spanish daily El País.
Carlos Slim also owns a significant share of the U.S. newspaper The New York Times.
“Slim’s fortune has swelled to an estimated $53.5 billion, up $18.5 billion in 12 months,” the Forbes report says.
It is the first time a Latin American has topped the magazines list of billionaires.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President Felipe Calderon appointed Gloria Guevara, the former chief executive officer of Sabre Holdings Corp.’s Mexican unit, as the new minister of tourism.
- Valdez “la Barbie” Villarreal, a U.S.-born hitman is allegedly fighting Hector Beltran Leyva, brother of a deceased cartel leader, for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel, according to the head of the anti-narcotics division of Mexico’s federal police.
- Mexico announced a $20 billion tax-incentive program this week in the hope that it will attract Hollywood business.
- Under the leadership of Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela, the Cuban government is fulfilling a long-standing promise to pay for sex-change operations.
- After meeting with Haitian Prime Minister Rene Preval, President Barack Obama warned that the situation in Haiti remains dire two months after the Jan. 12 earthquake.
- Guatemala’s chief prosecutor said the Mexican government approved extradition of former President Alfonso Portillo to the United States, where he faces money laundering charges.
- Honduras’ National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) plans to carry out a a referendum on June 28 to create a constituent assembly to reform the country, a year to the day after the coup that ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya.
- A Costa Rican production company, 28 Producciones, plans to sell tickets for a Guns N’ Roses concert in the country, despite no formal announcement from the band or the agency in charge of its world tour.
- The Panama Canal expects a small rise in revenue in 2010, due in part to the recovery from the global economic crisis.
- The Venezuelan government seized two suagr mills Tuesday, threating expropriation due to allegations that the mill’s managers hoarded sugar and violated the labor rights of employees.
- Doe Run Peru metal producer said it has no time line for the reopening of its La Oroya smelter, despite reaching a financial deal last week to resume operations.
- A senior company executive for Jindal Steel & Power said the company is committed to to its mining and steel plant project in Bolivia despite the urging of the Bolivian government to start construction soon or lose the deal.
- Brazilian President Lula Da Silva was criticized Tuesday for failing to condemn Cuban government policies toward political prisoners
- The Argentine government accused foreign oil companies, Shell and Petrobras, of causing oil shortages by deliberately limiting production, forcing the formerly state-run YPF to raise its prices.
- A poll conducted in the wake of Chile’s February 27 earthquake shows that outgoing President Michelle Bachelet’s approval ratings remain high, despite accusations that her response to the quake was inadequate.
- German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle asked on Tuesday that wreckage from a Nazi warship sunk off the coast of Uruguay in 1939 be displayed in a museum rather than sold in auction. Westerwelle was in Montevideo as part of a five-country tour of Latin America.
Image: samlustgarten @ Flickr.