MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Attacks on Carlos Slim’s hold on Mexico’s telecoms market intensified on Monday when a secret group opposed to the world’s richest man rubbished his core business in a newspaper advert called “The Slimsons”.
Drawn in the style of U.S. cartoon sitcom “The Simpsons”, the full-page broadside against the 71-year-old tycoon ran in several of Mexico’s biggest dailies, lampooning the cost, reliability and services of Slim’s telephone networks.
Slim has become embroiled in a bitter feud with Mexican media moguls over his dominance of local telecommunications, which has spawned a series of attacks on his credibility on television, the Internet and now newspapers.
In the advert, four blue-faced characters in the clouds state respectively “In Slimlandia — clients get ‘quality service’”, “telephone charges ‘are low’”, “connection speeds ‘are infinite’”, and “your mobile ‘always works’”.
Below, a sad-looking man with a pink face says: “Not in Mexico.” Signed off by anti-Slim group calling itself “Todos los Mexicanos” (All the Mexicans), the advert adds:
“All Mexico is the territory of all the Mexicans,” in a parody of one of Slim’s best known phone advertising slogans.
A spokesman for Slim’s fixed-line phone giant Telefonos de Mexico declined comment on the advert.
With a fortune estimated last month by Forbes magazine at $74 billion, Slim has long been a target of satire in Mexico, where income inequality is high and control of everyday resources is concentrated in relatively few hands.
Slim has for some years been devoting millions of dollars annually to charity, but attacks against the son of Lebanese immigrants have become more pointed in recent months.
Spearheading the campaign against his dominance of local telecoms are top broadcasters Televisa and TV Azteca, who say the government must take action to lower the interconnection fee Slim charges to let them finish calls on his mobile network.
One television advert from “All the Mexicans” shows angry mobile users launching expletive-laden tirades against Slim’s telephone services, standing in front of his newly opened multi-million dollar art museum or his stores.
Those responsible for “All the Mexicans” have not made themselves known to the public, though according to technical investigations by Reuters, the server feeding the group’s website www.todoslosmexicanos.org/ is based in Houston, Texas.
Additional reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz