In Solidarity With Mexican Protestors, Activists Take Direct Action Against Communications Magnate Carlos Slim & Saks Fifth Avenue

[NEW YORK, NY] New York City community leaders (full list below), Yo Soy 132, Occupy Wall Street and Occupy DC will gather today at La Fuente to announce a growing coalition — Two Countries ONE VOICE — gathered in protest of Carlos Slim’s monopolistic business practices. This press conference will announce a four-day protest that will begin Tuesday, August 7 in front of Saks Fifth Avenue. Slim, who is the richest man in the world, owns a 16 percent interest in the chain of upscale Saks department stores, in addition to interests in other American institutions.

“Carlos Slim is taking his model he created in Mexico that was built on the backs of the poor charging excessively high prices and providing inadequate service to countries across Latin America and Europe,” said Juan Jose Gutiérrez, one of the leaders of Two Countries ONE VOICE. “We’re here today to say enough is enough. We’re here today to shine a glaring light on the damage monopolies can have on a country and a people.”

“We are calling on the American public to join our efforts and stop shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue as a demonstration of opposition to Carlos Slim’s exploitation of the Mexican poor,” continued Andres Ramirez, one of the leaders with Two Countries One Voice.

“Yo Soy 132 believes this is an important cause because Carlos Slim’s network reaches everyone, touches everyone, impacts everything for us in Mexico,” said Antonio Attolini, a leader of Yo Soy 132 and is a 22-year-old political science and international relations major at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). “We believe Mexico can be a better country but we need the people, and our neighbors, to stand up for what’s right and say no to Carlos Slim.”

Slim not only refuses to acknowledge the impact he has on the Mexican poor but he has said that the poor in Mexico and Latin America are an opportunity for him and his empire. Specifically in an interview with Larry King in December 2010, King asks, “Is it hard for you to see all the poverty in Mexico?” Slim’s response is, “It’s hard, but it’s — I am convinced that all this poverty in Mexico and Latin America … is the opportunity to grow.”

“Slim’s practices are like a virus – they continue to spread and multiply causing harm every where it goes,” added Aaron Black with Occupy Wall Street. “We can’t ignore him, he is aggressively growing his empire and we need to say no more.”

This announcement follows a large protest at George Washington University’s graduation where Slim was recognized in May. Supporters of Two Countries ONE VOICE came together to be a voice for the voiceless and stand up against Slim’s predatory practices. The coalition will continue to protest American institutions and companies that have relationships with Slim.

Carlos Slim’s power and fortune is made up primarily from his monopoly on the Latin America telecommunications system with exorbitant prices and inadequate services. Slim’s company, America Movil (comprised of Telemex and Telcel), has nearly 80 percent of the total Mexican telecommunications system – from telephone landlines to mobile telephone services, and is moving quickly to take over systems in the Carribbean, Central America, and South America.

According to the January 2012 Organizations for Co-operation and Development (OECD) study, Carlos Slim has price-gouged Mexican customers a total of $13.4 billion from 2005 to 2009 for basic telephone and Internet service. It has been consistently proven throughout developing countries that access to services like mobile banking provides a route out of poverty. According to the OECD study, Mexico has a tremendous poor, rural population that could increase their socio-economic status given access to resources such as broadband.

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.

The protest will begin Tuesday, August 7th and will continue on through Friday, August 10th.

Press Conference Announcing Actions Against Saks Fifth Avenue in Solidarity wih Mexico

DATE: Monday, August 6, 2012


WHERE: La Fuente, 25 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011

WHO: Senator Adriano Espaillat, NYS Senate, 31st District,
Assemblymember Nelson Castro, NYS Assembly, 86th District,
Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez, NYS Assembly, 68th District,
Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Council, 10th District,
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Leader of Two Countries One Voice,
Andres Ramirez, Leader of Two Countries One Voice,
Antonio Attolini, Representative of Yo Soy 132,
Mariana Fabela, Representative of Yo Soy 132 & a graduate student at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM),
George Martinez, Occupy Wall Street activist & adjunct professor of political science at Pace University,
Lucia Gomez Jimenez, Executive Director, La Fuente, Inc.,
Nieves Padilla, Community Organizer, Make the Road NY