Sunday, October 03, 2010

Carlos Slim Helu: The Spirits of an Immigrant Family

Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world a businessman  from Mexico mostly in telecommunications field, he had Lebanese descent though proud become Mexican, still may not willing to forget where his family origins came from. In the late of 19th century until beginning of 20th century it called the first wave of Lebanese immigrant mostly Christians arrived in Mexico they came driven by oppression of  the Ottoman Islamic regime, flare by religious tension and political instability. They arrived in Mexico's eastern shores and settled in the Yucatan Peninsula or in the Gulf coast ports named Veracruz and Tampico. In  part of  his biography it stated clearly and completely,  says:

In 1902, Julian Slim Haddad father of Carlos Slim Helu, arrived in Mexico from Lebanon, all alone and 14 years of age, speaking no Spanish. He was escaping from the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, which at the time conscripted young man into its army, mothers therefore sent their sons to exile before turning fifteen.

And thus Don Julian arrived in Mexico; he was a young man, energetic and full of enthusiasm and ideas, who after disembarking in Veracrus, moved to Tampico, Tamaulipas, where four of his older brothers had already settled since 1898 (Jose, Elias, Carlos, and Pedro Slim) with the conviction that they would succeed together with the country that had received them.

Carlos Slim's mother, Dona linda Helu, was born in Parral, Chihuahua. She was the daughter of Jose Helu and Wadiha atta, Lebanese immigrants who arrived in Mexico at the end of 19th century, and after traveling through several cities in the Mexican Republic, decided to settle in the capital city. Jose Helu brought the first Arabic printing press to Mexico and founded one of the first magazines for the Lebanese community in this country.

The Slim brothers later moved to Mexico city and in 1911, Julian Slim and his brother Jose, who was thirteen years older than him, founded the company, La Estrella de Oriente ("the star of the east"), so named in honor of their country of origin. The partnership was formed with 25,800 pesos, each of them contributing 50 percent. In May 1914, in the midst of the Mexican Revolution, Don Julian, then 26 years old, bought his brother's fifty percent stake for 30,000 pesos.

La Estrella de Oriente was an important dry goods store located on Calle de Capuchinas (today Venustiano Carranza), that, over time and with don Julian's extraordinary work ethic and business talent, had merchandise worth more than US$100,000 by January 21, 1921, only ten years after the business was founded. By that time, Don Julian had also acquired eleven more properties in the area, which was one of the most commercial, active and significant in downtown Mexico City, and therefore in the country. The current value of the store would be more than US$7 million today, and the real estate would be worth around US$28 million.
By 1922, Don Julian's net worth was already $1,012,258 pesos between real estate, businesses and various stocks.

In August 1926, Julian Slim and Linda Helu married in Mexico City. Their first daughter, Nour, was born four years later, and Alma two years after that, followed by Julian, Jose, Carlos and  Linda.
With his intelligence and tenacity for work, Don Julian Slim Haddad would become a prominent businessman and the father of an exemplary family who was able to instill in his children both moral values and the dedication to and familiarity with work.

The reasons for Don Julian Slim Haddad's commercial success  were simple: a calling, talent and hard work. Don Julian's thinking was ahead of his time, given his deep understanding of business, by the 1920s he was already talking about an efficient business as one that sold large volumes at smaller margins, and with payment facilities, factors that today prevail in the large discount stores.

In 1927, when Mexican migration policy ceased to be favorable for many foreigners and Lebanese, immigration was restricted, Don Julian Slim, who served as president of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce for almost 20 years (from 1930 until it was disbanded at the end of 1940s), successfully filled a lengthy and well-researched legal brief with the Department of State that described the activities and characteristics of his fellow countrymen and defended their rights. Thanks to this, there was a favorable resolution for these immigrants. A part of this document reads as follows:

"Lebanese are characterized by their work, their economy, their simplicity, how easily and quickly they learn the language of the countries they go to and in which they live peacefully, especially in places like Mexico that maintain sacred commitment to personal independence and love of the homeland."

During his leadership of the chamber, he conducted a census of all Lebanese businessmen in Mexico and actively participated with them in the Nationalist Campaign of the 1930s, whose objective was to promote Mexican industry by buying and consuming made-in-Mexico products, with the aim of benefiting trade, employment and national development. The motto of the campaign was "consume what the country produces." Although this campaign had the support of the President of the Republic (Pascual Ortiz Rubio) it did not cost the country's federal treasury a penny because the various chambers of commerce contributed the resource to disseminate and promote it. The campaign always advocated the excellence of Mexican products and for an increase in the country's export. Don Julian's participation was especially active, important and dynamic in this important movement and it proved his extraordinary capacity to assimilate to the culture of a country that he assumed and defended as his own. During that period he requested and finally obtained Mexican nationality.

Carlos Slim Helu was born on January 28, 1940 in Mexico city, where he learned from early on the value of  family as priority in life.

Carlos Slim most left on the picture. Source:
.He also received his first business lessons in early childhood, as Don Julian gave each of his children a savings book with their usual weekly allowance in order for them to learn to manage their income and expenses. They reviewed this book with him, analyzing their expenses, purchases and activities, and by following this rule Don Julian's children managed their finances and developed their own wealth. From that time investment and savings were part of young Carlos's live, becoming his first lesson in business, which he soon put into practice by opening his first checking account and buying shares of Banco Nacional de Mexico when he was only 12 years old.
With his parents and five siblings, Carlos Slim Helu grew up in a close, loving family that taught by good example, but in 1953 Don Julian died suddenly, deeply affecting Helu family, it was a sad and unexpected emotional blow that left a noticeable mark in the home. Carlos only 13 years old.

That's Carlos Slim Helu family and origins about. There are 1.1 million Mexican came from Arab background such as Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian. Become an immigrant maybe not a choice, but to choose one. Are you from immigrant family?


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