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Thursday, Nov. 19
LATIN AMERICA – Multimillionaire Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez are considered the most powerful people in Latin America, after they were included in the list of “The World’s Most Powerful People,” as compiled by Forbes magazine.
The ranking, which named U.S. President Barack Obama as the most powerful man in the world, placed Carlos Slim in sixth place among the 67 nominees, due to the influence he has through his companies Telmex, which controls 90 percent of landlines in Mexico, and América Móvil, the fifth largest mobile operator in the world with 170 million customers in Mexico and Latin America, reported La Jornada. His wealth is estimated at US$35 billion, which is equivalent to two percent of Mexico’s GDP.
Meanwhile, Lula came 33rd in the table. The Brazilian president, stated Forbes.com, placed his country among the largest exporters of agricultural products in the world in 2008, and the largest in the carbon market. He maintains an extremely active leadership in Latin America.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez came in at 67th, due to his control over significant oil reserves and the nationalization of telephony, steel and electricity companies performed by his government.
Another Mexican who appears on the list, reported EFE, is drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, in 41st place. The magazine caused controversy in March by including the Sinaloa Cartel drug lord on its list of the richest men in the world, with an estimated fortune of US$1 billion.
Although other traditional Forbes magazine lists rank the top 100 in a given category, this year's first-ever "World’s Most Powerful People" list only includes 67 names. This “number is based on the assumption that it is possible to represent the world’s population of 6.7 billion with a relation of one [powerful] person for every 100 million,” explained Reuters.
The U.S. magazine, reported Reuters, used the following criteria to define individual power rankings: the number of people influenced by the person, their ability to impose their power on their surroundings, their control or access to financial resources and the intensity with which they exercise their power.
The top five places were rounded out with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Federal Reserve President Ben Bernanke and the founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.