By David Simmonds
Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim, the world’s richest person, has contributed one-half billion dollars to help Latin America’s poor by opening the Carso Health Institute, based in Mexico City. Slim has been often criticized for not giving away more of his enormous wealth to charity, but in 2006 he donated $1.8 billion (with a b) which included 150,000 scholarships to university students. Over the past decade his gifts have included thousands of laptop computers, 66 million bicycles, and 10 million pair of contact lenses. His vast and various companies employ over 250,000 Mexican workers. The son of immigrants from Lebanon, Slim has been a positive force in Mexico in many ways, but persistent charges of monopolistic business practices remain. The working class, with a per capita income of less than $7,000 does not trust the powerful elite families that control the economy, and in many ways, the country. Carlos Slim has vowed to continue giving, but until the average citizen can realize a fair and realistic opportunity to climb the economic ladder, gifts alone will not be enough.