Billionaire Among Us: How Mexicans See Carlos Slim
March 13, 2010
How does a country battered by a lethal drug war and the worst recession since the 1930s react when one of its own, Carlos Slim Helu, is deemed by Forbes magazine to be the world's richest person?
In a word, mixed.
"There's no way for a country with so many poor to have the world's richest man without something being awry," said Pedro Dominguez, a mechanic from Puebla. "The problem is, most Mexican people have no way to attain this kind of wealth."
"He has my respect," countered Rafael Contreras Martinez, a housepainter from Izucar de Matamoros, on his way to a job. "I'm not going to speak ill of a man who has worked and struggled."
Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim walks before a meeting in Cozumel, Mexico in 2009.
Luis Acosta, AFP / Getty Images
Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim uses public transportation and lives in the same Mexico City house he purchased with his wife Soumaya 40 years ago. Here, he heads to a meeting in Cozumel, Mexico, last summer.
Slim, a 70-year-old son of a Lebanese immigrant, built a fortune Forbes pegs at $53.5 billion on the privatization of Mexico's telecommunications. The bulk of that wealth consists of holdings in his companies, which carry an enormous weight in the economic life of Mexico...