Anti-Chavista billionaire

Chris Brady cdbrady at
Mon Apr 29 13:38:32 MDT 2002

There was a wonderful portrait of an anti-Chavista billionaire in the
“Money & Business” section of Sunday’s New York Times.  I’ll give you
the headline, the URL, and some quotes below:

Coup? Not Cisneros's Style. But Power? Oh, Yes.

New York Times, April 28, 2002

Gustavo A. Cisneros “a media tycoon and one of Latin America's most
powerful figures”,

“a multibillionaire whose international conglomerate of 70 companies”,

“Mr. Cisneros [built] one of Latin America's largest fortunes, estimated
by Forbes magazine recently at $5.3 billion, second in the region only
to the wealth of Carlos Slim Helú, the billionaire chairman of
Teléfonos de México.”

“Mr. Cisneros's father had sought partnerships abroad early on, striking
a deal in the 1940's to form an independent bottling operation for
Pepsi-Cola, a relationship that persisted until the Cisneros Group
switched to bottling Coca-Cola in 1996.”  {--interesting to those who
are aware of the importance of those soft drinks to the history of Latin

a close friend of another baseball family, the Bushes of Texas, and he
went fishing in Venezuela last year with the first President Bush.”

"The entire counterrevolution could be found at his home at certain

political opponents of Mr. Chávez are not the only guests at Mr.
Cisneros's home. He has also held receptions for Charles Shapiro, the
United States ambassador to Venezuela, and Donna Hrinak, the former
ambassador in Caracas and currently the ambassador to Brazil.”

“Mr. Cisneros also remains a friend of Otto Reich, the under secretary
of state for Latin American affairs and a former United States
ambassador to Venezuela. Mr. Reich is believed to have called Mr.
Cisneros several times during the frenetic 48 hours when Mr. Chávez was
out of power to discuss the situation, people close to the Cisneros
Group said.”

"The need for a democratic solution to Venezuela's political dilemma is
absolutely clear," [Cisneros] said.

{Basically, the article quotes Venezuelans who offered that it was
unlikely Cisneros had a direct hand in the coup.  A reader might also
note how the business press regards power-mad megalomania as an
admirable trait in business people.}

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