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Gustavo Cisneros

Gustavo CisnerosAKA Gustavo A. Cisneros

Born: 1945
Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: Venezuela
Executive summary: Billionaire Venezuelan media mogul

One of two Venezuelan billionaires, Cisneros was born into a rich family that parlayed their sole distributorship of Pepsi into a fortune that allowed them to control a sizeable chunk of all Latin American media. The subsequent capital flight, based on "diversification" and moving 80% of the family investments outside of Venezuela, resulted in Venezuela's crawling to the blood-suckers at the International Monetary Fund for help. One could point out that the personal enrichment of Cisneros was one direct cause of Hugo Chavez's later rise to power.

Cisneros-owned Venezuelan TV network Venevision controlled coverage of the US-backed 2002 coup on the populist Chavez. Some claim Cisneros was one of the principal backers of the coup- his family being longtime representatives of US interests. It certainly doesn't help Cisneros' case that he ordered a ban on footage of the resulting counter-coup consisting of tens of thousands of the citizenry seeking to reinstate Chavez. Cisneros' network instead aired classic cartoons and golden age movies. The US State Department's chief Latin America handler (and one-time Ambassador to Venezuela) Otto J. Reich later confirmed that during the 2 day coup he had spoken with Cisneros "two or three times".

Cisneros married into a family that owned another Venezuelan media empire. He and his wife Patty Phelps were overnight guests of Ronald Reagan at the White House, around the same time US Customs agents confiscated 50 grams of cocaine from a Cisneros family airplane. US Customs declined to file charges for some reason.

As one of the 100 richest people in the world, Cisneros is a classic case of a big fish in a small pond, causing comparisons such as "the Rupert Murdoch or Silvio Berlusconi of Venezuela". Speaking of fishing (and of cocaine and coups), Cisneros is a sometimes-fishing companion of former US president George H.W. Bush.

Father: Diego Cisneros (media mogul)
Brother: Ricardo Cisneros (media mogul, defrauded Banco Latino)
Sister: Marion Cisneros (media mogul)
Brother: Oswaldo Cisneros (media mogul)
Wife: Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (media mogul, m. 1970, 3 children)

    University: BS Business Administration, Babson College (1968)

    ABC 1968-70
    Member of the Board of Barrick Gold (2003-)
    Member of the Board of Univision (2003-07?)
    Council on Foreign Relations International Advisory Board
    Americas Society International Advisor
    Knights of Malta
    Museum of Modern Art Chairman's Council
    Museum of Television and Radio Board of Trustees
    Cuban Ancestry


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