Slim, the Mexican billionaire whose $250 million cash infusion bailed the New
York Times out of a tight cash crunch last week, has long-standing business ties
with wealthy Mexican businessmen suspected of involvement in Mexico's so-called
“Cartel of the Southeast,” the drug trafficking organization (DTO) based in
Cancun which came to light two years ago with
the crash on Mexico’s Yucatan
Peninsula of an American-registered (N987SA) Gulfstream jet carrying nearly four
tons of cocaine.
A long-time lieutenant of
Carlos Slim's, Fernando Chico Pardo, left Slim's employ to take over ASUR, a
publicly-traded corporation which observers accuse of moving large quantities of
cocaine through Cancun International Airport, which the company runs and
controls a total of a dozen Mexican airports, and exemplifies the
“corporatization” which has transformed the drug trade in the same process of
vertical integration and market consolidation which has left, in other large
industries, like automobiles, a handful of global multinational players
dominating market share worldwide.
Slim's big investment
represents an encroachment into the ownership of an icon of American democracy
of a man, and a massive fortune, whose provenance have gone largely
unexamined. But on the topic of Slim's shady dealings, all eyes seem to be
curiously averted. However it seems highly doubtful the Times' ownership is
unaware of them.
The barely-concealed facts
regarding Carlos Slim’s shady connections are well-known to journalists in
Mexico. They deserve to become more well-known here in the U.S., because links
between Mexico's exploding narco-economy and current-world's-richest-man Carlos
Slim don’t end with Fernando Pardo's ASUR.
Too Rich and Too Slim
of how his investment in the New York Times does, analysts
Slim comes out a winner. His
quarter-billion dollar investment buys
prestige as an owner of one of the world's best-known and
newspapers that his status as the world's
second-richest man cannot.
Owning a piece of the
Times, goes this reasoning, provides
the kind of “cover” which credit card commercials call
Slim's stake is a danger to the New York
said the Seattle Times in a scathing editorial. While calling it
ominous move," the editorial neglected to mention any of
Slim's more unsavory
connections. American newspapers don't mention
is something approaching a taboo.
Start with a universally
acknowledged fact: Despite occasionally valiant efforts by our Southern
neighbor, Mexico’s chief growth industry is drug trafficking.
Carlos Slim being tainted unfairly for
having risen to the top in a troubled country better-known as a
of gangsters and narco-traffickers than as an incubator for
entrepreneurs ready to take on Warren Buffett for the title
Let's take a look.
We pretend to no great accounting
expertise. We never worked for Arthur Anderson.
(Well, maybe that's a bad example.)
But Carlos Slim's numbers don’t add
a 10-year old wire service story about a former top Mexican drug
lord, Amado Carrillo Fuentes,
which will provides us with some useful
benchmarks. Because of his vast armada of
planes, Fuentes was known in Mexico, as “Lord
of the Skies."
Fuentes died in 1997
while undergoing plastic surgery
attempt to engineer the ultimate “Extreme Makeover.” In wire
service stories reporting his death,
his wealth was compared with that of
Carlos Slim, who had just been named Forbes magazine’s
'Richest Latin American."
When Fuentes died, he was
worth $25 billion,
the story. Carlos Slim was worth $6
published reports at the time agree with this assessment of Slim's
example, the May 7, 1999, Mexico City
newspaper La Jornada fixed Slim's
fortune at “something like $6 billion.”
At about the
same time Latin Trade
magazine pegged Slim as being worth $7.2 billon.
After working hard for more than 40 years, Carlos
Slim was worth a
hefty $6 billion.
A 50 Billion Dollar Decade?
forward to news reports about Slim's New York Times investment
last week. They
state Slim is currently worth, variously, between $57
billion and $60 billion dollars.
After already making six billion
a time when
might be tempted to relax and enjoy, Carlos Slim made over $50
just in the next ten years.
We can't even begin to imagine what
that works out to
per hour. But we're sure its a lot. But...
Drug Lord and Lord of the Skies
recall, managed to
salt away no more than $10 or $15 billion a decade. And he was in
the cocaine business, where counting your money can
be a bigger problem than making it.
Carlos Slim owned Sears.
there an epic sort of run in Mexico on Kenmore washer-dryers?
Has anyone ever made $50 billion before--or
anything close--in just ten years?
We think not. We think something about Carlos
Slim smells fishy.
The Cartel of the
in the Mexican press accuse
Fernando Chico Pardo's
del Sureste, S.A. de C.V., (ASUR)
of playing ball in
trafficking major leagues, pointing a finger at the company's
reported complicity in the big "drug move" in September of 2007
with an American Gulfstream jet carrying 4 tons of cocaine crashing
Pardo and Slim
casual business acquaintances. Pardo
was Carlos Slim's right-hand man for more than 16 years before
striking out on his own,
with Slim’s blessing. He retained a seat on the board of
company. And his
remains the President of Slim’s major holding, Mexican
Two years ago
a big conference, along with some top American
"swells" (to use a
word popular during the U.S.'s last Great Depression) on
Integration" at the Banff Hotel in Canada,
to Michel Chossudovsky of the Center for Research on Globalization.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was there. So too was former
CIA Director James
former Reagan Secretary of
State George Schultz.
These are, of
course, not the kind of guys
one thinks of as sipping a little something apres-ski
discussing "Current Trends in Drug
But then there is the matter
of the provenance of the American-registered Gulfstream, which was caught in the
Yucatan carrying almost four tons of cocaine, which exposed the workings
of the Cartel of the Southeast
As it happens, the Gulfstream
(N987SA) was known to belong to the CIA in Columbia and Central America, and to
fly for the DEA as well, and it had even flown extraordinary renditions,
according to exclusive reporting in Narco
More than the usual number of
all its manifold faults, the
New York Times is an American journalistic institution.
Shouldn't preserving the
tattered shreds of what Walter Cronkite used to call “the people’s right to
know” be worth a few hundred million that might otherwise be going to Wall
Shouldn't ownership of the New
York Times be treated as a matter of national security, just like that of, say,
puzzling of all, why
has a revered (well, semi-revered) institution like the
Times let Slim buy his way to such a large stake?
answer to that last questions was answered indirectly last week, by the
Director of the United Nations' crime and drug watchdog
made in the illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the
financial crisis," Reuters quoted Antonio Maria Costa.
midst of the current world financial crisis, drug money is, in
instances, currently the only liquid investment capital," said Costa. "With little
unemployment, the drug trade at this time could be the world's only growth
Most people, perhaps naively, think of drug
money as bad. Carlos Slim's investment in the N.Y. Times, on the other
hand, may illustrate that some don't consider all drug money to be bad.
Does Carlos Slim represent our drug
money? That portion of drug trafficking proceeds which are--of necessity--being
regularly re-invested back into the United States?
Slim's shady connections don't seem to bother the owners of the Times.