29th April 1912: A crowd await the return of survivors of the ‘Titanic‘ disaster, at Southampton. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images) and FOX News Latino

The ill-fated trip aboard the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean 100 years ago today, included a well-to-do Mexican man who had high-level political connections, a rich businessman from Cuba and at least eight passengers from Spain. Some were willing to shell out big bucks to be part of the historic journey, others were onboard because they were servants for the very wealthy. Some survived and even found love amid the wreckage. Others were not so lucky. What strings their lives together is that each of them were passengers of the most famous cruise line in history.



The only Mexican on the Titanic voyage was 39-year-old lawyer, Don. Manuel Ramirez Uruchurtu. Although Uruchurtu was lucky enough to be in first class on the ship, he did not make it out alive. Uruchurtu was part of a well-to-do Mexican family, which allowed him the luxury of studying law in México City where he met and married fellow student Gertrudis Caraza y Landero, a Mexican lady of high social standing. Settling down in México City to establish his law practice, the couple had 7 children. During the time of the Mexican revolution in 1910, Uruchurtu had already established himself in the national political scene of the dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz which, along with his wealth, made him an automatic target for the revolutionaries. When the former dictator and other former government officials were exiled to France a year following the revolution, Uruchurtu decided to visit his friend General Ramón Corral, who was vice president of Mexico before his exile.

URUCHURTU, Don. Manuel Ramirez
Age: 39
Class: 1st Class passenger, boarded in Cherbourg
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico, Mexico
Destination: Mexico City, Mexico
Ticket number: 17601
Travel fare: £27 14s 5d
Died during the sinking, his body —

After visiting with his political friends, Uruchurtu decided to return home to his family. Guillermo Obregón, the son-in-law of Corral, persuaded Uruchurtu to take his ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage to return to México. Boarding the ship at Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France on April 10th, Uruchurtu communicated with his family for the last time, sending his brother a telegraph that read “embarcome” (going on board).

April 1912: Survivors of the Titanic disaster boarding a tug from the liner which rescued them. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) and FOX News Latino

In the fatal night that followed, Uruchurtu , a first class passenger, gave up his seat in a lifeboat to an English lady from the second class who was pleading to be let into the boat because her family was waiting for her.In what he knew would be his last moments, Uruchurtu gave up his seat but not before asking the woman to visit his wife in Veracruz, Mexico.


Two passengers from Uruguay were relatives Francisco M. Carrau and José Pedro Carrau, whose relationship, as to if they were uncle and nephew or cousins, is unknown. Francisco was 28 at the time of his death and an active member of the board of directors of one of Carrau & Co., a food distribution company that is one of Uruguay’s largest businesses. Francisco, along with his 17-year-old relative and traveling companion Jose, boarded the Titanic in Southampton England on April 10, 1912. Both men died in the crash although their bodies were never recovered. Other than family legends, little is known about the men and the happenings on their ill-fated voyage.

Name: Mr Ramon Artagaveytia
Born: July 1840
Age: 71 years 9 months
Last Residence: in Buenos Aires Pampas Argentina
Occupation: Businessman
1st Class passenger
First Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17609 , £49 10s 1d
Died in the sinking.
Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 22)
Buried: Cemeterio Central Montevideo Uruguay on Tuesday 18th June 1912. photo source: encyclopedia titanica

Ramon Artagaveytia came from a family whose life was the sea. Born in July 1840 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Titanic was not Artagaveytia’s first experience aboard a sinking ship. In 1871, Artagaveytia survived the fire and sinking of the ship America near the shore of Punta Espinillo, Uruguay. Of the 164 passengers, only 65 survived. The experience left Artagaveytia emotionally scarred. However, that did not stop him from traveling. After settling down in Argentina, Artagaveytia traveled to Europe to visit his nephew who was the head of the Uruguayan Consulate in Berlin. But before returning home, Artagaveytia decide to visit the U.S.
Two months before setting sail on the Titanic, Artagaveytia wrote in a letter to his cousin, “At last I will be able to travel and, above all, I will be able to sleep calmly. The sinking of the America was terrible!… Nightmares keep tormenting me. Even in the most quiet trips, I wake up in the middle of the night with terrible nightmares and always hearing the same fateful word: Fire! Fire! Fire!…I have even gotten to the point where I find myself standing in the deck with my lifebelt on…’” The second time, he was not as lucky.

The night of the sinking Titanic, both Artagaveytia and his fellow Uruguayan passengers, Francisco and Jose Pedro Carrau, died. A week later, Artagaveytia’s body was recovered by the MacKay-Bennett. After being transferred to New York, his body was finally laid to rest in Cemeterio Central, in Montevideo on June 18, 1912.

Spain: The Spanish represented the largest percentage of Latino’s on the Titanic voyage

Sisters Asuncion Duran y More, 27, and Florentina Duran y More, 30, boarded the ship in Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France. Both sisters were lucky enough to survive the sinking, rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 12. After arriving in New York City, the sisters immediately embarked on a voyage to Cuba. While Asuncion’s life after the Titanic is vague, the voyage for her sister proved to be life changing in more ways than one.

photo source: Titanic-Titanic

Florentina found love through the unfortunate event, marrying fellow second class passenger, 26-year-old Chauffeur Julian Padron Manent. The couple lived together in Cuba until Florentina’s death in 1959 at the age of 70. Following Manent’s death in 1968, the couple were buried side by side in an elaborate mausoleum in Colon Cemetery in Havana.

Chauffeur Julian Padron Manent

Speculated traveling companion to Julian Padro Manent and the Duran y More sisters, Emilio Pallas y Castello was a 29-year-old American citizen heading for Cuba. Like his friends, Castello was rescued and lived a long life until his death in 1940.

photo source: encyclopedia titanica John William Thompson, William McIntyre, Emilio Pallas y Castillo are shown in New York after the sinking. Thomas Whiteley was being treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital for a leg injury sustained during the sinking.

Spanish domestic Encarnacion Reynaldo, 28, boarded the Titanic to visit her sister in New York City. And luckily for Reynaldo, she eventually reunited with her sister after being rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 9.

Victor Peñasco died and was newly wed to María Josefa Pérez de Soto photo source: Gente del Pueblo

Of all 8 Spaniards aboard the titanic, only one, Victor Peñasco y Castellana, did not make it out alive. Left by himself on the ship, Castellana died in the sinking. Victor Peñasco y Castellana, along with his wife Maria Josefa Perez de Soto y Vallejo and her maid Doña Fermina Oliva y Ocana , boarded the Titanic the same day as the Duran y More sisters in Cherbourg. While all were first class passengers, only Maria and her maid were rescued as they were able to be go ashore in lifeboat 8.


Brothers Ahmed and William Ali boarded the Titanic in Southampton England. Laborers from Buenos Aires, the two purchased third-class tickets for the voyage. While both lost their lives, only William’s body was recovered. He was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetry in Halifx, Nova Scotia on May 10, 1912.

photo source: A UMNS web-only photo collage by Kathleen Barry.
All photos are public domain.

Another Argentine, Edgar Samuel Andrew, never intended on boarding the Titanic. Originally from Córdoba, Argentina, Andrew came to the U.S. in 1911 to visit his brother. After traveling to Bournemouth, England to study, Andrew was lured back to the states for his brother’s wedding and the promise of a job at the Harriet White Fisher company in New York. However, when the coal strike forced Andrew to change his ticket from the Oceanic to the Titanic, his future fate was sealed.

photo source: Titanic Project

In a letter to his friend Josey Cowan in Argentina, on April 8, 1912 Andrew wrote, “I am boarding the greatest steamship in the world, but I don’t really feel proud of it at all, right now I wish the ‘Titanic’ were lying at the bottom of the ocean.” Along with a suitcase that was recovered from the wreckage in 2001, Andrew’s letter to Cowan has remained in the family. Somehow foreboding the ship’s fate, Andrew died in the sinking.


Servando Jose Florentino Ovies y Rodríguez

Servando Jose Florentino Ovies y Rodríguez, was the sole Cuban aboard the Titanic. The 36-year-old worked in the import business in Havana where he lived with his wife, Eva Lopez del Vallardo and son, Ramon Servando. Although a first-class passenger, Rodríguez was not able to make it out of the sinking alive. After his body was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nova Scotia on May 15, 1912, his wife filed a claim for $75,000 for the loss of his life and $2,800 for the loss of property.


Read more: FOX News Latino

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon (L) and his Guatemalan counterpart Alvaro Colom arrive at a joint press conference at the official residence Los Pinos, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on July 27, 2011. (Xinhua/David de la Paz)

Los Zetas and Guatemalan Organized Crime 

Guatemalan authorities arrested Horst Walther Overdick-Mejia, a Guatemalan drug distributor working with Los Zetas, on April 3 in San Lucas Sacatepequez, Guatemala, near Guatemala City. According to a U.S. indictment, Overdick was responsible for trafficking illicit drugs, including cocaine, via land and maritime routes into Mexico since at least 1999 and played a significant role in the establishment of trafficking routes through Guatemala for Los Zetas.

Several Mexican transnational criminal organizations, including the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas, employ people in Guatemala like Overdick to transport illicit drugs through the Central American country. For Mexican organized crime, these liaisons are crucial for moving illicit drugs through Guatemala. Logistical liaisons, such as Overdick, allow foreign groups to establish a presence in unfamiliar terrain and facilitate communications with Guatemalan contacts. However, for at least the last five years, Los Zetas have placed an increasing focus on expanding their operations into Guatemala. The group thus likely has alternative plans to prevent operations depending on a single point of contact.

Members of Los Zetas pose with their drugs and weapons following their arrests by Mexican special ops police. Photo credit: DEA/DoJ File Photo 04/12/12

Unlike other Mexican organized criminal groups such as the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa Federation, Los Zetas use their characteristic violent tactics to exert influence in Guatemala. On May 15, 2011, in the Peten department of Guatemala, gunmen murdered 27 farm workers on a ranch owned by Guatemalan drug distributor Otto Salguero. A week later in Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango department, three Guatemalans were arrested after posting narcomantas signed Z-200 that claimed Otto Salguero was one of “the most important suppliers of cocaine” to the Gulf cartel. Los Zetas have targeted other drug trafficking organizations, which family organizations largely control in Guatemala. Los Zetas attacked one such group, Los Leones, on March 25, 2008, with gunmen killing 11 of its members including Juan Jose “Juancho” Leon, a leader in the organization.

Guatemala Blames Mexico’s Most Brutal Drug Gang For Killing And Decapitating 27 People (05-17-2011) photo source el narco blog

Given Los Zetas’ established ability to assault rival criminal groups in Guatemala and its increasingly public presence (through narcomantas appearing in Guatemala’s largest cities), it is unlikely that Overdick’s arrest would significantly hinder Los Zetas influence in, and ability to traffic drugs through, Guatemala. Los Zetas are likely to adjust to Overdick’s arrest to continue operations in Guatemala.

July 6, 2011 – Guatemala, Guatemala – FILE: A picture dated 31 may 2011 shows Agents of the National Civil Police of Guatemala seizes 336 kilos of cocaine after a fight against drug traffickers in Rancho de Progreso, 80 kilometers north of Guatemala city. The group Los Zetas, one of the most violent organizations of organized crime, supplied drug from Guatemala and not direcly in Colombia, as revealed by number three in the group, jesus Enrique Rejon arrested in Mexico on July 3, 2011. Photo: Jesus Alfonso/dpa.

Turf War Hits Cancun

Spring Break in Cancun, in the narco era, via FP. March 2009

Gunmen shot and killed a 21-year-old man in front of the Hotel Ibis in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, on March 27. Authorities said they were looking for a missing taxi driver in connection with the murder. On April 2, authorities discovered the bodies of three males along the Cancun-Leona Vicario highway with two vehicles, one of which was registered as a taxi vehicle. According to authorities, the murders probably were linked to the March 27 killing. Two days later, authorities arrested seven members of the Los Pelones gang in Cancun in connection with the murders. After interrogating the suspects, authorities said the March 27 victim was killed for belonging to Los Zetas. Five members of Los Zetas were arrested April 5 in the district where the March 27 murder happened. Those arrested said they had arrived in Cancun 10 days before to carry out several assassinations.

The hotel is located in a high commercial traffic area at the intersection of Tulum and la Nichupté avenues.

Though Cancun does not typically see violence related to the drug war, violence may erupt without notice in any part of Mexico. At present Los Zetas and Los Pelones, a name historically associated with the Sinaloa Federation but not necessarily the same gang in Cancun, are attacking each another in Cancun. How far the violence could escalate remains unknown, but travelers to the resort town should pay attention to the security situation given the March 27 killing, which occurred in the area where numerous travelers will stay. Collateral damage easily could result from violence between the organizations.

April 3

  • Authorities discovered three bodies — two male and one female — at a ranch in Brisenas, Michoacan state, near the Jalisco state border.

April 4

  • Four gunmen were killed in Ario de Rosales, Michoacan state, when they opened fire on a military patrol. No military casualties were reported.
  • Authorities discovered the bodies of four executed individuals, two of whom were decapitated, in three different municipalities of Morelos state.
  • Francisco Medina Mejia “El Comandante Quemado,” the reported mastermind of the Casino Royale fire that killed 52 individuals in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, was killed by Mexican military in a firefight on the Nuevo Laredo-Piedra Negras highway. Three other gunmen were also killed.

April 5

  • At least seven individuals were murdered in separate incidences in Acapulco, Guerrero state.

April 6

  • Gunmen arrived at a residence in a vehicle and kidnapped four police officers before shooting and killing them in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

April 7

  • Authorities discovered the body of a woman in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The victim’s eyes were taped shut and there were signs of torture on the body.
  • Three individuals were killed in Acapulco, Guerrero state. Two of the victims were decapitated, and their heads were left in an ice cooler inside a vehicle. The third victim was a taxi driver, and his body was left in a taxicab.
  • In Arriaga, Chiapas state, two narcomantas were placed along bridges. The first stated that “Los Z” has arrived and warned that 100 people would die. The other stated that “La Familia” did not kill women, children or innocent and that justice begins.

April 8

  • The Mexican army with municipal police seized 844 kilograms (1,860 pounds) of marijuana from a residence in Tijuana, Baja California state.
  • Authorities discovered four decomposing bodies in a well in Rioverde, San Luis Potosi state.
  • Gunmen killed three men who had arrived at a car wash in Chihuahua city, Chihuahua state.

April 9

  • Gunmen kidnapped a man in La Trinidad, Sinaloa state. Authorities later discovered the decapitated body with the hand placed in the mouth.
  • Gunmen opened fire in a bar in the center of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, killing a waiter and a patron.
Read more: Stratfor

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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is the ultimate immigrant success story: Two generations after her Mexican grandparents arrived in the U.S., she became the nation’s first Latina governor.

And with an overall approval rating of 66 percent of New Mexicans after more than a year in office, she is arguably the most popular Republican governor in the country.

But that popularity doesn’t always translate among Hispanics, a group that in New Mexico makes up nearly half of the population.

One issue that makes many of the state’s Latino voters seethe is their governor’s stance on driver’s licenses and illegal immigrants. In her 2010 campaign, Martinez promised to repeal a law that makes New Mexico one of only three states in the country where illegal immigrants can get a driver’s license.

Gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez is greeted by supporters Saturday during a rally in Santa Fe. - Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican

At a speech in Albuquerque last year, Martinez said getting rid of the law is a matter of public safety.

“We have thousands of individuals who come to our state from not just Mexico, but all over the world in order to gain that very valuable ID,” she said.

A bill to repeal the driver’s license law has failed three times in the state legislature, and some critics charge that Martinez’s support of that bill is really part of a long-term political strategy.

“Why she is introducing policies that are divisive to the Latino community, we could only guess that it’s for political gain,” says Adrian Pedroza, who works with Hispanic neighborhoods in Albuquerque as the director of a local nonprofit.

‘Well, I’ll Be. I’m A Republican.’

Martinez, 52, is often touted as a possible 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, although she has said she would decline any offer.

Martinez grew up in a family of Democrats in a bilingual household in El Paso, Texas, just blocks from the border with Mexico. At 18, she worked in her father’s business as a revolver-carrying security guard outside a bingo hall.

She graduated from law school and later considered entering politics. That’s when some Republican friends took her out to dinner. It’s a story she often shares publicly.

“We talked about values; we talked about where we stood in reference to how the economy was going; we talked about welfare as being a hand up and not a way of life; we talked about the freedoms, the Second Amendment,” she says. “And I remember walking out of there and getting in the car with my husband, Chuck, and saying, ‘Well, I’ll be. I’m a Republican.’ “

Shortly after that, she ran for and was elected district attorney in the southern New Mexico county of Dona Ana.

Bringing In Latino Voters

New Mexico is considered a swing state that tends to lean in favor of Democrats, but the February Rasmussen poll shows Martinez enjoys broad support, even among Democrats, with whom her approval rating tops 50 percent. Among Hispanics in the state, 58 percent approve of the job she is doing, but 33 percent noted they “strongly disapprove” of her job performance — the highest of any group polled.

“I think because she is a Hispanic woman, she gets criticized more,” says Cindy Retana, an El Paso school principal and Martinez’s younger cousin. Retana says Martinez is being singled out for criticism because of her ethnic background. “She’s seen as forgetting where you come from, not being supportive of immigrants, which is absolutely the farthest thing from the truth.”

photo from the LA Times Blog

Martinez has said she is proud of her Mexican heritage, but she faces the same burning question as other high-profile Hispanic Republicans, like Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: Can she make the party more appealing to Latino voters nationwide?

Forty-nine percent of Florida voters approved of Rubio's job performance. | AP Photo

That remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the GOP faces an uphill battle. Another February poll of likely Hispanic voters nationwide, conducted by Fox News Latino, shows President Obama leading either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum by about a five-to-one margin in a prospective matchup.

The same poll found that 18 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for the Republican nominee if Martinez was the vice presidential choice. When Rubio was the vice presidential candidate, that number jumped to 24 percent.

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Prior to 1965 a thriving Bracero Program was in place in which roughly 450,000 persons entered the U.S. from Mexico each year on temporary work visas.  These workers returned to Mexico regularly rather than staying in the U.S., thereby creating a circular flow of legal Mexican migrants.  The program had a lot of problems, however, so immigration reformers with a civil rights agenda successfully shut it down.  But while the program ended in 1965, the business need for this type of labor did not. The result was that Mexican workers continued to enter the country, although now without documentation.  Also in 1965, quantitative limits on immigration from the Western Hemisphere were established. Thus illegal immigration rose after 1965 not because there was a surge in Mexican migration, but because these immigration reforms rebranded legal migrants as undocumented workers and capped the number who could try to enter the country legally.

”]No longer legal guest workers but illegal immigrants, the number apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican borderincreased.  This allowed a new narrative to develop: illegal immigration was a crisis and new policies were desperately needed to stem the flow of the “alien invasion.”  The more this narrative was repeated by politicians, the more the populace supported increasingly stringent immigration and enforcement policies, setting off a chain reaction:  increased apprehensions led to increased calls and better tools for enforcement; increased enforcement led to more apprehensions; and increased apprehensions solidified in the public’s mind that illegal immigration was a growing problem that needed drastic reform.  Moreover, increased enforcement did not really deter people from entering the U.S. from Mexico, but it certainly encouraged them to stay; the conversion from legal migrant to illegal immigrant was complete.

President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense McNamara in an EXCOMM meeting, October 1962.

Second, the U.S. was involved in several Central American countries during the Cold War, which lead to further destabilization in the region and large scale migration north.  While Nicaraguan émigrés were welcome as refugees (since the U.S. disagreed with the leftist government they were fleeing), others from Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras encountered the same restrictions for legal entry as Mexicans. After the 1990s, the threat of terrorism intensified border enforcement and brought about a sharp rise in deportations from the U.S.  Deportations replaced border apprehensions as “proof” that a Latino threat loomed.

November 6, 1986: President Reagan in the Roosevelt Room signing S. 1200 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 with Dan Lungren Strom Thurmond George Bush Romano Mazzoli and Alan Simpson looking on.

Third, Latin American legal immigration – led by Mexico—was also on the rise after 1965, and particularly after 1986.  Again, this was not a result of a conscious policy effort, but rather an unintended consequence of the various immigration reforms. Due to concerns about terrorism and a growing xenophobia, Congress began in the 1980s to strip civil, social, and economic rights away from legal immigrants.  As it became increasingly problematic to be in the U.S. but not a citizen, the numbers seeking to naturalize increased.  This happened just as millions of former undocumented migrants became eligible to naturalize after receiving permanent residence under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Adding to the numbers was a separate policy that exempted family members (spouses, minor children and parents) of U.S. citizens from country quotas as part of a family reunification effort.

The authors end the article noting the massive demographic transformation that has resulted from these unintended consequences – a rise in the Hispanic population from 9.6 million to 50.5 million.  They offer a counterfactual scenario, in which the Bracero Program was improved, not abolished, and the U.S. stayed out of Central America; the result might have been a smaller illegal population and a less divided country when the terrorists attacked.  More might have continued to cross the border legally and for temporary stays, resulting in fewer permanent immigrants, less undocumented migration, and slower population growth.  Amazingly – almost despite ourselves—we may actually be headed that way as both illegal and legal entries have fallen while temporary guest worker entry has risen.

The next step is for the U.S. to find a way to deal with the remaining legacy of failed policies – undocumented residents who number 11 million.  Of those, 3 million entered as children.  The authors argue that they should receive amnesty – such as that would have been granted in the Dream Act—while the adults should be able to participate in an earned legalization program.  As the Massey/Pren paper shows, a large number of permanent undocumented people is not a good situation for the country—and the next policy solution should aim to solve not create more problems.

Article by Douglas S. Massey, the Wilson School’s Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, and Karen A. Pren, Project Manager, Mexican Migration Project at Princeton’s Office of Population Research, argues that the post-1965 surge in Mexican, Central American, and to a lesser extent South American immigration was not a direct result of policy reforms enacted in the mid-1960s but rather the unintended consequences that unfolded afterward.

READ MORE: Hispanically Speaking News

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The richest man in the world is Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim at the equivalent of $69 billion U.S. dollars.  In second place is Bill Gates with $61 billion, followed by Warren Buffet at $44 billion.  Europe’s richest man, Frenchman Bernard Arnault is #4 with $41 billion, while Amancio Ortega of Spain has $37.5 billion.  Larry Ellison has $36 billion, while Brazil’s Eike Batista has $30 billion.  In the #8 position is Sweden’s Stefan Persson with $26 billion.  Li Ka-Shing of Hong Kong has $25.5 billion, and #10 is Karl Albrecht of Germany with $25.4 billion. Carlos Slim and family are worth $69 billion. The man, known as “King Midas” or “The Engineer,” really made it into the big leagues back in 1990 when he bought Telmex, which now controls about 80% of Mexico’s landlines. Slim also has Telcel which controls about 70% of the Mexican cellular phone market and América Móvil, Latin America’s biggest wireless provider, with over 200 million customers. Last year he started Minera Frisco, a mining company. Slim has a bank, an airline, department stores, restaurants and music outlets. Slim sells insurance, auto parts, and ceramic tile. The Mexican government pays Slim to construct roads, water treatment plants, petroleum platforms, etc. Slim also owns part of the New York Times. And, his latest high-profile venture is the launching of an Internet TV network featuring his friend Larry King, known as

Henry Romero / Reuters

  • Ricardo Salinas Pliego and family are worth $17.4 billion. Salinas Pliego runs the Grupo Elektra retailer (which he inherited) and TV Azteca network (which he started). Banco Azteca, part of the Elektra chain, serves mostly low-income clients. Ricardo Salinas Pliego controls Mexico’s second largest broadcaster, TV Azteca. But by far the largest chunk of his fortune–$15.3 billion worth– lies with home electronics retailer Grupo Elektra, which has a finance arm that makes loans to customers, including very low-income ones. Elektra’s stock has more than doubled in the past year, pushing Salinas’ fortune up by $9.2 billion; Elektra revenue grew 19% in peso terms in 2011 to $4.1 billion. Analysts point to a very small float as one reason for the large increase in value of Elektra’s share price; an equity swap with UBS and a new place on the benchmark IPC Mexican stock index further reduced supply and drove share prices higher. In mid 2010, Salinas took his financially troubled Mexican wireless carrier Iusacell private; he owned 75%. He struck a deal in 2011 to sell a 50% stake of Iusacell to competing Mexican TV broadcaster Televisa for $1.6 billion, but in February 2012 the Mexican national competition commission vetoed the plan. Televisa and Iusacell are appealing. It’s all part of the ongoing telecom battle with Carlos Slim, whose company Telcel controls 70% of the Mexican mobile market; Iusacell has a mere 4% market share. Salinas’ Azteca Foundation is active in promoting youth orchestras across Mexico.

  • Alberto Bailleres and family are worth $16.5 billion. Bailleres is chairman of metallurgical giant Industrias Peñoles, Bailleres has stock in the luxury department store El Palacio de Hierro, Grupo Nacional Provincial insurance company, investment firm Grupo Profuturo, and serves on the board of bottling company Femsa. Bailleres also has a 100-yard long yacht called The Mayan Queen IV. Alberto Bailleres chairs Mexico’s second largest mining company, Industrias Penoles, one of the world’s largest silver miners. Thanks in part to higher prices for precious metals, as well as to the opening of his El Saucito silver and gold mine in Zacatecas, Bailleres’s fortune is up $4.6 billion since last year on a steep rise in the share price of Industrias Penoles; his 69% stake in the company accounts for $13.4 billion of his fortune. He also chairs department store chain Grupo Palacio de Hierro, insurance company Grupo Nacional Provincial, and pension fund manager Grupo Profuturo. Plus Bailleres owns a stake in Coke bottler Femsa. He is reportedly a patron of bullfighting.

    Alberto Bailleres presidente grupo BAL, durante la inaguraci n de la mina Saucito, en Fresnillo, Zacatecas. (NOTIMEX/FOTO/JOS LUIS SALMER N/JLS/POL/Newscom)

  •  Mining and lumber magnate German Larea Motta Velasco  is CEO of mining company Grupo México. Larea and family have a net worth of $14.2 billion dollars. Grupo Mexico also includes Mexico’s biggest railroad company Ferromex. Larea is also owner of the Cinemex movie chain. German Larrea still reigns as Mexico’s media-shy copper king. Mexico’s largest copper producer, Grupo Mexico, had another stellar year, revenue-wise. But with stock prices slightly down, Larrea and his family, who control 51% of the mining conglomerate–saw their fortune drop by $1.8 billion. Grupo Mexico is currently fighting a Delaware court decision that it overvalued shares of its copper subsidiary in a 2005 merger deal. The conglomerate has had trouble with labor at its Mexican mines; the former Cananea mine, now called Buenavista, near the U.S. border was shut for nearly four years by a strike. Meanwhile, President and Chairman of the Board German Larrea remains elusive, avoiding journalists and photographers.
  • Jeronimo Arango and family  are worth $4 billion. Arango’s family business was the Bodega Aurrera supermarket chain, part of Grupo Cifra, which sold out to Wal-Mart and became Wal-Mart de México (Walmex), netting the family a couple of billion. The Arangos also own real estate. Jeronimo Arango’s art collection includes pieces by El Greco and Goya, some of which he has donated to the Prado Museum in Madrid. Arango also serves on the Prado board of trustees. Jeronimo Arango, with brothers Manuel and Placido, shares a fortune gained from selling their stake in retailer Cifra to Wal-Mart’s Mexican arm in 1997. Jeronimo is said to live a quiet life in Los Angeles. Manuel, a real estate developer, also founded the Mexican Center for Philanthropy and, in 2011, called on businesses to donate at least one percent of their profits to charity. Placido collects art and has owned a chain of restaurants
  • Emilio Azcarraga Jean is worth $2 billion. Azcarraga runs Grupo Televisa, with its TV channel, telenovela production, radio, satellite, Internet, publishing, gambling and discount airline. Emilio Azcarraga is the chief executive of powerhouse Mexican TV broadcaster Televisa, which has recently begun producing English-language programming. Azcarraga and his would-be business partner Ricardo Salinas Pliego, of TV Azteca, continue an ongoing Mexican media battle with Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico’s richest man. Last year Azcarraga’s Televisa struck a deal to buy a 50% stake in Salinas’ mobile phone company, Iusacell, for $1.6 billion. In early February Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission vetoed the deal, a move widely viewed as stinking of politics; Televisa and Iusacell are appealing. Slim’s phone companies Telmex and Telcel as well as retailers belonging to Grupo Carso pulled their advertising from Televisa in 2011 after Televisa increased ad rates by 20%. Televisa said the increase came because the Slim companies did not participate in “upfront” ad buying for the year. Meanwhile, Azcarraga is nudging into Slim’s hold on telephony in Mexico by offering bundled Internet, phone and cable TV through Televisa’s cable TV unit.
  • Roberto Gonzalez Barrera is founder and executive of Gruma, which is the world’s biggest maker of tortillas. (Gruma brands include Mission and Maseca.) Most of his money, though, is from his part of the Banorte. The bank’s stock went up in 2011, putting Gonzalez Barrera back on the billionaires’ list after being off it for more than a decade. This magnate is worth $1.9 billion, and that is from his stock alone, not that of his family as are many of these valuations. Roberto Gonzalez Barrera founded and runs Gruma, the world’s largest tortilla maker; brand names include Mission, Guerrero and Maseca. U.S. agricultural commodities powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland is a 23% shareholder. The majority of Gonzalez Barrera’s wealth, however, comes from his stake in Banorte, a successful Mexican bank that earlier in its history was owned by the Mexican government. In 2011, he returned to the billionaires list after a hiatus of more than a decade, based on the strength of Banorte’s stock. This valuation includes his shares alone, and not those of his children.

    Roberto González Barrera, presidente de GRUMA.

  • Carlos Hank Rhon and family  in the world and are worth $1.4 billion and on the Forbes billionaires list for the first time. His family owns over 90% of Grupo Financiero Interacciones, which in turn controls Banco Interacciones. The Hank family also has Grupo Hermes (which includes Hermes Infraestructura) and a transportation company. Carlos Hank Rhon makes the billionaires list for the first time, thanks in large part to his family’s 93.4% holding of Grupo Financiero Interacciones, currently worth close to $800 million. The group controls Banco Interacciones, an integrated financial services firm and investment bank in Mexico. The Hank family also fully controls Grupo Hermes; its Hermes Infraestructura arm builds just about every type of major infrastructure: bridges, roads, hydroelectric plants. In the past several years, the Hank family has been developing Playa Mujeres, a new luxury tourist destination in Cancun. The family also has a transportation business.
  • Roberto Hernandez Ramirez is worth $1.3 billion. Hernandez was CEO of Banamex when that bank sold out to Citigroup, and he remained on Citigroup’s board until 2009. Now he’s on the board of Televisa and owns part of a Brazilian company. Roberto Hernandez Ramirez, the former chief executive of Banamex, reaped an estimated $2 billion windfall when Citigroup bought the Mexican bank in 2001. Hernandez remained on the Citigroup board until 2009; he is currently a board member of Mexican broadcaster Televisa. He has a small investment in Brazilian consumer goods company Hypermarcas (run by billionaire Joao Alves de Queiroz Filho). Hernandez has created two foundations intended to preserve the environment and Mayan cultural heritage and is on the board of the Nature Conservancy.

    (Foto: Gilberto Contreras)

  • Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “el Chapo” (Shorty), is the chief of the Sinaloa drug cartel. The estimated net worth of this narco baron is $1 billion. The inclusion of Guzman on the list has been criticized, but he is a billionaire. Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo,” is a criminal and the leader of the illegal drug smuggling Sinaloa cartel, responsible for an estimated 25% of the illegal drugs trafficked from Mexico into the U.S. Guzman is believed by drug experts to be spending more money to defend the cartel than in previous years due to stepped up enforcement efforts by the Mexican government, and has expanded cartel operations to Central America, particularly Guatemala. But authorities are closing in: December 2011 brought the arrest of a top Sinaloa lieutenant, quickly followed in February by the capture of the leader of the cartel’s armed wing. Circumstances must be less than cozy in the mountains where El Chapo hides out; in August, the drug lord reportedly sent his 22-year-old wife to Los Angeles County to give birth to the couple’s twin daughters. 

    STR/AFP/Getty Images

  • Alfredo Harp Helu is Carlos Slim’s first cousin. Harp and family are worth $1 billion. Harp was running Banamex when the company cashed in by selling out to Citigroup in 2001, and now owns the Diablos Rojos baseball team in Mexico City, and he is the principal shareholder of the Grupo Marti gym and sporting goods store. The bulk of Alfredo Harp Helu’s fortune comes from the 2001 sale of Mexican bank Banamex to Citigroup. Harp was the bank’s former head and a significant shareholder. He currently chairs publicly traded Grupo Marti, which owns a chain of sporting goods retailers. Harp is the principal shareholder. He is also a cousin of Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico’s richest man. A baseball fan, he owns the Diablos Rojos (Red Devils) Mexican team. In 1994, Harp Helu was kidnapped and held for several months.

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