Latin America has provided the world with individuals who did not go unnoticed. Revolutionaries, writers, actors, politicians, economists; all notable personalities that the world admires and respects in the present day. Here is a list of a few of our favorite influential Latinos from across the globe.
1. Pope Francis will celebrate his first year in the pontificate on March 13 in a spiritual retreat. Argentine Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio became the highest ecclesiastical authority of the Catholic world a year ago this month. He’s a very charismatic person who is revolutionizing the Catholic Church and inspiring all faiths in the world.
2. This month, Forbes magazine ranked Mexican business tycoon, investor, and philanthropist Carlos Slim as the world’s second richest man ($72 Billion) in between Bill Gates and Amancio Ortega (Spain). Slim’s portfolio includes extensive holdings in several Mexican companies through Grupo Carso. Also, this Mexican billionaire is presently the chairman and chief executive officer of telecommunications companies Telmex and America Movil.
3. Lionel Andres Messi. The Barcelona FC player is one of the best players at the moment according to experts on the subject. He is another Argentine, by the way. It seems that in this case the saying of, “nobody is prophet in his own land,” is fulfilled as his soccer alliance is with his team in Barcelona.
4. To start speaking about what Latina women mean around the world, we chose to highlight the most beautiful woman in the world, the Venezuelan Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013. This beauty queen is not limited to showing off her physical attributes as she’s committed to what is happening in her country and is aware that she has international influence through her title.
Isler issued a release in which she sends a message of peace to all Venezuelans. “For you… Venezuela.” Isler posted a picture on her Instagram account (mollysler) in which, as a “sister of a family of nearly 30 million people,” she expressed through her “solidarity with all the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of the events that have marked our country these past few weeks.”
5. The Costa Rican Christiana Figueres Olsen is one of the most authoritative voices on climate change in the world. She has been the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is headquartered in Bonn (Germany), since 2010. Since her appointment, Figueres has insisted on the 2015 agreement, the year in which Governments around the world have pledged to sign a new international agreement to restrict the emission of greenhouse gases, and to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change.
6. Sonia Sotomayor is well-known for being the third woman and first Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, where she has been an Associate Justice since August of 2009. “I have figured out how to stay happy in my world by understanding the power of love,” Sotomayor recently told a crowd of undergraduate and law students.
7. Dilma Rousseff is the current president of Brazil, and she’s one of the world’s most powerful women after leading her nation to possess the world’s seventh-largest national economy with a GDP of nearly $2.4 trillion.
8. Michelle Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006-2010 and has reclaimed the position of presidency effective March 11, 2014 after being reelected in December 2013 with over 62% of the vote. She is the first woman in her country to do so, plus the first person since 1932 to win the presidency twice in competitive elections.
9. José Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter in his country, has been President of Uruguay since 2010. He has been named as “the world’s ‘poorest’ president” due to his austere lifestyle and his decision to donate approximately 90 percent of his monthly salary to charities. This charismatic president has recently announced that Uruguay will host five Guantanamo prisoners for two years as requested by President Barack Obama.
Mujica asked Obama reciprocally to release some Cuban prisoners at Guantanamo and an agreement was made.
Mario Vargas Llosa
10. Peruvian-Spanish writer of notoriety Mario Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and essayists. Vargas Llosa is not only a writer but a politician, journalist, college professor, and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. Some consider him to have a large international impact with his Literature and political opinion pieces, which are, much of the time, controversial opinions in Latin America.
These are only 10 examples of the growing presence of influential Latinos around the world. Who did we miss? Do you know of someone who is an influential Latino of some significance that you’d like to share?