CARSON, Calif., Oct. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — On Sunday, October 6, hundreds of Chivas’ fans and Two Countries One Voice – an organization of Latino community leaders and advocates – held a press conference outside Stub Hub stadium, in which they read a letter addressed to Chiva’s co-owners, Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, begging the husband-wife duo not to sell the Chivas franchise to Carlos Slim. TCOV revealed a pledge requesting that the co-owners sign it before the protesters proceeded into the stadium, donning Slim masks and staging a half-time rally chanting “Chivas si, Carlos Slim no.” See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI_Svlc3FyI.
“While Two Countries One Voice recognizes that Mr. Vergara and Ms. Fuentes may want to sell the franchise someday, we are begging them to please sell Chivas to anyone BUT Slim,” TCOV co-founder, Juan Jose Gutierrez stated emphatically.
This past spring, there were media reports that Slim was interested in Chivas while he was acquiring ownership stakes in Club Pachuca and Club Leon. When asked about selling the franchise to Slim, Chivas’ co-owner, Jorge Vergara, admitted in an August 20 interview that “anything is possible.”
“Carlos Slim has an undeniable track record of ravaging everything he purchases with monopolistic and predatory practices,” noted Andres Ramirez, TCOV co-founder. “He has left devastation throughout the telecommunications industry in Mexico, the United States and now he’s moving onto soccer – an innocent pastime that brings our community tremendous joy. We’re here today to say enough is enough. Leave our Chivas alone!”
Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world, who has traded places as the richest man with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, created an empire primarily from his monopoly on the Mexican telecommunications system. According to the independent and highly respected Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Slim’s company, America Movil, which controls nearly 80% of the total Mexican cell and landlines, has price-gouged Mexican customers billions of dollars for basic telephone and Internet service by charging exorbitant prices and providing inadequate services. The OECD report estimates that Mexico has endured an estimated welfare loss of $129 billion due to Slim’s practices.
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 profit margins of companies within the OECD countries.
“Recently, regulators in both the United States and Mexico have begun reining in Carlos Slim’s monopolistic practices, but we will continue our efforts until we see real change in the lives of Mexico’s poor,” noted Juan Jose Gutierrez.
On July 11, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission fined Carlos Slim’s TracFone $24 million and settled a battle that has drawn out in both the courts and before the CPUC surrounding the pay-as-you-go mobile provider’s failure to pay fees and surcharges that fund programs for the deaf and poor. This ruling comes on the heels of the Fair Political Practices Commission’s July 25, 2013 decision to refuse to investigate the activist group, Two Countries One Voice, despite three lengthy and indignant complaints from TracFone against TCOV for “organizing protests in California and around the country against TracFone…and it’s parent company, America Movil.”
In April 2013, Congressional Republicans – alerted to the Lifeline phone scandal – convened a hearing to question the program and why the “biggest beneficiary of this is Carlos Slim, the billionaire owner of TracFone.” In the United States, Slim has four million TracFone customers participating in government phone assistance programs, commonly referred to as Lifeline programs. Slim has collected $10 per phone he provides to these consumers, totaling a minimum of $38 million in U.S. federal subsidies this year alone.
In May 2013, Mexico’s Congress overwhelmingly passed a far-reaching telecommunication reform bill designed to improve competition in Mexico’s phone industry, which is controlled by Carlos Slim. The new law was approved almost unanimously, with 108 votes in favor and three against, giving the Federal Institute of Telecommunications power to open up the market – something regulators have been trying to achieve for years.
“However, these improvements are just the beginning,” stated Ramirez, TCOV co-founder. He went on to note that “Two Countries One Voice will continue to be the voice for the voiceless, giving prominence to the plight of the poor, who are impacted by Slim’s practices.”
This Chivas’ rally follows a recent “laugh-in” at the New York Public Library, questioning Slim’s “philanthropy”; a press conference with California legislative leaders in Sacramento; protests in front of the California Public Utilities Commission’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters; a rally in front of New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue, in which Slim is partial owner; and protests at George Washington University’s graduation ceremony, in which the school bestowed an honorary degree on Carlos Slim.
SOURCE Two Countries One Voice