Before you read any further, we need to make sure you’re in the Mexican spirit. So, bring out your guitarrón mexicano, put on your sombrero, pour yourself a glass of tequila, and continue reading our list of the five most influential Mexicans.
1. Carlos Slim
Image source: Forbes
Ranked by Forbes as the richest person in Mexico – and second in the world – Carlos Slim Helú has a current net worth of $73.1 billion. Nicknamed the Warren Buffet of Mexico, Slim is the chairman and CEO of leading telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil, and has served as vice president of the Mexican Stock Exchange and as the first Latin American Committee’s president of the New York Stock Exchange Administration Council. Beyond his obvious success as a business magnate, Slim set up three non-profit organisations in Mexico City for various causes, including healthcare and downtown restoration.
Image source: Fox News Latino
Better known for her role as María Hernandez in María la del Barrio, one of the most popular Mexican telenovelas – having been broadcasted in over 180 countries – Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda is probably Mexico’s most influential woman of modern times. Thalía, as she is known professionally, isn’t just a successful actress, though. She’s also a five-time Latin Billboard award-winning singer, having sold over 40 million albums worldwide. Oh, she’s also a songwriter, author, fashion designer, radio presenter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
3. Rodolfo Neri Vela
Image source: Crónicoa de un insomnio
Most boys dream of travelling to space one day, and for Rodolfo Neri Vela it was a dream come true. Neri is the first – and only – Mexican to have travelled to space when, in 1985, served as a Payload Specialist onboard the Atlantis on NASA’s 23 space shuttle mission, STS-61-B. Currently a full-time lecturer at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Neri was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1991.
4. Mario J. Molina
Image source: kalamu
Mario J. Molina is widely credited as being one of the most prominent precursors to the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. Along with Professor F. Sherwood Rowland, he proposed that chlorine atoms catalytically destroy the ozone. Their findings were published in the scientific journal Nature in 1974 and, together with Paul J. Crutzen, co-received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “their work in atmospheric chemistry”. This important discovery has led many countries around the world to pass laws regarding the regulation of CCFs – or chlorofluorocarbons – in protecting the ozone layer.
5. Lydia Cacho
Journalist Lydia Cacho began her journalism career writing arts and entertainment stories for Cancún newspapers, but was so inspired by her mother’s feminist views that she moved on to reporting violence against women. Cacho was raped and beaten in 1999 (an event she considers to be a retaliation for her work); however, she went on to found a shelter for battered women a year later. In 2003, she published the book Los Demonios del Edén, in which she accused Jean Succar Kuri for child pornography and prostitution, and businessman Kamel Nacif of protecting Kuri. The book put her life in danger, while the UN Human Rights Council advised her to leave Mexico – something she did in 2012. She is regarded as “Mexico’s most famous investigative journalist and women’s rights activist.”
Did we forget someone? Do you have a suggestion to make on the most influential people from Mexico? Let us know in the comments section below!