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Photo: EFE
Photo: EFE

Who are the businessmen that visited the U.S. with AMLO?

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The first trip abroad by AMLO during a global pandemic was seen through different eyes. 

On one hand, some applauded the enactment of the USMCA, arguing that it will help an economy that has been affected during the coronavirus crisis. According to Banxico, in the first semester of the year, the country’s economy will fall around 8.8%

On the other hand, some questioned the contradictions between a populist and leftist leader signing a treaty that promotes capitalism and the free market. Let’s not forget that AMLO was one of the main detractors of the old treaty, NAFTA, signed in 1994 by then president, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, whom AMLO has pointed out as the "father of modern inequality.”

And to add to the contradiction, a group of multi-millionaires (some billionaires) were part of AMLO’s posse going to the U.S.

Who were they?

Carlos Slim Helú

The richest man in Mexico, according to Forbes, and number 12 worldwide. Owner of Grupo Carso, principal investor in the construction of  the new airport, a project cancelled during AMLO’s presidential term. 

After the cancellation, the divide between Slim and Mexico’s President seem difficult to bridge, however, his inclusion on the private trip gives a different angle. 

Living in Mexico is a boost to Slim’s economy somehow. The country is considered to be “Slim’s territory,” citizens’ transactions go along with fees that end up in his pocket. 

Ricardo Salinas Pliego

The businessman has benefited the most during the actual presidential term. 

According to Forbes, TV Azteca’s owner has increased his fortune in the last two years with government contracts. As a result, he has become the second-richest person in Mexico. 

During the obligated lock down, Salinas Pliego was questioned because, even though his industry wasn’t essential, his establishments remained open

Carlos Hank González

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Grupo Financiero Banorte, Vice Chairman of Gruma and Managing Director of Grupo Industrial Hermes. González is a descendant of the Hank family, known for being involved in corruption scandals in Mexico’s politics for a long time. 

His grandfather was the leader of Grupo Atlacomulco, an unofficial organization that, according to rumors, is in charge of selecting the heads of government in the State of Mexico. Former president, Enrique Peña Nieto, was known to be part of it.

Patricia Armendariz 

Current CEO of Financiera Sustentable and advisor of Banorte Group. 

Her focus is to support Mexican micro-entrepreneurs. Altogether with Carlos Bremer, another of the entrepreneurs invited to the dinner, she is part of the reality show Shark Tank Mexico where investors choose whether or not to fund entrepreneurial  projects. 

During the dinner with the President of the United States she was responsible for posting photos to his Twitter account in which she gave a chronology of events.

Olegario Vazquez

Entrepreneur, executive director of Grupo Empresarial Ángeles, owner among others of Camino Real Hotels and, in the area of communication, Grupo Imagen. 

The business group was also the majority shareholder of the Querétaro F.C. soccer team; however, due to recent unsuccessful investments, the team was sold to Grupo Caliente, owned by Jorge Hank Rohn, a close relative of the aforementioned Carlos Hank Gonzalez.

Among the other businessmen that attended the meeting were:

Daniel Chávez Morán owner of Vidanta, an important tourism company, Bernardo Gómez Martínez, Televisa 's CEO, Francisco González Sánchez, President of Multimedios Group, Miguel Rincón Arredondo, president of Bio Pappel, a company in charge of printing books for the Secretary of Public education (SEP), and Marcos Shabot Zonana, a representative from the architecture and construction fields.

The principal objective of AMLO’s presidential term, also called “Mexico’s Fourth Transformation,” is to eradicate poverty and promote national industry. 

The international free market proposed by the new USMCA is a lifesaver against the economic crisis and the austerity generated by the coronavirus crisis.

However, only some companies will receive benefits from the USMCA, while the economic profits of a few groups will continue to divide and make Mexico’s social inequalities even more clear.

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