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Hundreds To Protest Carlos Slim At George Washington University Commencement Ceremony (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated: 05/18/2012 6:48 pm

Carlos Slim

On Sunday, nearly one thousand protesters are expected to join George Washington University's (GW) students and their parents at a commencement ceremony on Washington D.C.'s National Mall to voice concerns about the honorary degree the school plans to confer on Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim.

Protesters have already begun gathering in the streets around GW. Many of the demonstrators are members of "Two Countries One Voice", a coalition of activists dedicated to "exposing Carlos Slim" for amassing, "his wealth on the backs of the Mexican people and how his practices continue to corrode Mexico’s economic development," according to the coalition website.

Slim, a Mexican telecom magnate, is the world's richest person, with a personal fortune larger than those of Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. He is the first person from a developing nation to top the global wealth list, according to Forbes magazine.

Slim's core company, Telmex, was once a state-owned asset. His conglomerate, Grupo Carso, purchased Telmex in 1990, according to Forbes. The purchase gave Slim control of 80 percent of Mexico's land line telephone market. A second Slim-owned company, Telcel, controls 70 percent of the country's mobile phone business.

Slim's Grupo Carso also has significant holdings in the retail, technology and finance sectors. Critics say Slim's empire has choked off competition, the jobs that smaller companies may have created and contributed to elevated unemployment in Mexico.

"People are in awe of this man and his wealth while ignoring how he's acquired it. He has crippled the Mexican economy through his business practices and has single handedly kept millions in poverty, all while lining his own pockets," said Andres Ramirez, a Two Countries spokesperson according to Market Watch.

Protesters are calling on this year's GW commencement speaker, NBC's correspondent Brian Williams, to publicly oppose GW's plans to honor Slim.

"We want to make sure that GW knows that this guy's not a humanitarian, not a philanthropist, he's a corporate monopolist whose taken advantage of people in Latin America," said one of the protesters according to the video above.

In June of 2009, Slim received the President's Medal from GW in recognition of his philanthropic work in Mexico and the region, according to the university's website.


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  • Carlos Slim

    Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim smiles attends to a meal with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the National Palace in Mexico City on April 18, 2012. Rajoy is now in an oficial visit to Mexico after attending a meeting of the World Economic Forum on Latin America in the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta. AFP PHOTO/Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • With Larry David and Garcia Marquez

    (L-R): US television host Larry King, Mexican president Felipe Calderon, Margarita Zavala de Calderon, Mexican tycon Carlos Slim and Colombian writer and Nobel Prize recipient Gabriel Garcia Marquez are pictured during the opening of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City on March 1, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Alfredo Estrella (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Mexican Telecom Magnate

    Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim speaks during the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative meeting on September 20, 2011 in New York. AFP PHOTO/STEPHEN CHERNIN (Photo credit should read STEPHEN CHERNIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • With Alberto Moreno and Bill Gates

    Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates walks behind Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim (R) and the Inter-American Development Bank president Alberto Moreno during the launching of Middle America Health Initiative 2015 at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City on June 14, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo Estrella (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • At The Louise Blouin Foundation

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Entrepreneur and award recipient Carlos Slim Helu attends The Louise Blouin Foundation Presents The Fifth Annual Blouin Creative Leadership Summit - Awards Ceremony and Gala at the Metropolitan Club on September 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Louise Blouin Foundation)

  • In His Famil's Hometown in Lebanon

    Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim (2nd L) visits the Virgin Mary statue at the entrance at his family's homwtwon Jezzine in southern Lebanon on March 15, 2010. Slim, who has knocked Bill Gates from the top of the Forbes list of the world's billionaires, is on a visit to the country of his ancestors, Lebanon. The 70-year-old son of a Lebanese immigrant took the top spot for the first time in the Forbes list published on March 10, 2010, pushing the Microsoft founder out as he rose from third place on the success of America Movil, Latin America's biggest mobile phone operator. AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD ZAYAT (Photo credit should read MAHMOUD ZAYAT/AFP/Getty Images)


Filed by Laura Steiner  |