American Coalition Takes on World's Richest Man

US Latino Leaders to Call on George Washington University to Sever Ties with Carlos Slim

May 08, 2012, 13:00 ET from Two Countries One Voice

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Latino leaders from across the United States gathered today to announce that they are taking on Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, by exposing the alleged predatory, monopolistic practices with which he has amassed his fortune. The growing coalition – Two Countries One Voice – point to the fact that Mr. Slim's wealth has come at a huge cost to the people of Mexico and that his business practices have crippled economic development in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

"We have come together to speak out on behalf of the people in Mexico and Latin America who do not have recourse to speak out for themselves," said Juan Jose Gutierrez, one of the coalition leaders and affiliated with Vamos Unidos USA. "Carlos Slim's monopolistic practices have imposed significant costs to the Mexican economy and burdened the people of Mexico and Latin America. We are exposing his abusive practices so that the harm he has caused can be rectified and that those who might throw praise and honor at this man might know the truth."

In the first of many planned actions, Two Countries One Voice today announced it was calling on George Washington University to sever ties with Carlos Slim and demanded that George Washington University officials disinvite him from the graduation commencement ceremonies on the National Mall and revoke his honorary degree.

Two Countries One Voice will announce additional actions against other American institutions and corporations with strong ties to Slim in the coming weeks.

"It would be a travesty for a respected American institution like George Washington University to honor a man who is a modern day robber baron. His empire has helped keep millions in poverty while he has lined his own pockets," said Andres Ramirez, one of the coalition leaders who is based in Nevada. "We can not ignore how Slim has made his billions and this is why our first action is to call on George Washington University to sever ties with him immediately."

Carlos Slim's power and fortune is made up primarily from his monopoly in the Mexican telecommunications system.  According to the independent and highly respected Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Slim's company, America Movil, which controls 80% of the total Mexican telecom, cell and internet industries, charges exorbitant prices and provides inadequate services. Their report also shows that Mexico's phone industry dominated by Slim's companies overcharged customers a total of $13.4 billion a year for basic telephone and Internet service from 2005 to 2009.  The OCED report points out that those specifically and most profoundly affected by these business practices are rural and poor communities.

Last week, Slim and his company admitted to overcharging under pressure from a proposed one billion dollar fine. The Mexico's CFC (Federal Competition Commission) had unanimously ruled that one of Slim's companies, Telcel, holds too much power. Earlier this year the antitrust agency also served Telcel close to a billion dollar fine for "monopoly practices."

The impact of Carlos Slim's monopoly has resulted in Mexico ranking LAST in public investment in telecommunications compared with the 33 other OECD countries while Slim's company Telemex had a profit margin of 47% - one of the highest of the OECD countries.

SOURCE Two Countries One Voice