Colombia: Businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Dies

On October 7, Colombian businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Pumarejo, considered one of the richest men in the world by Forbes, died in New York at the age of 87.

Through his business group Bavaria and his firm Valores he directed more than 100 companies, among which he developed the brewing, radio, aviation, and television industries in Colombia, as well as businesses in other sectors (like customs and warehousing).

His work was accompanied by social programs. With his foundation in partnership with the Bogota government he introduced the School of Arts and Crafts  “Santo Domingo” [es] and founded the Cultural Center and Library Julio Mario Santo Domingo. [es]

While most media [es] outlets [es] in Colombia had positive commentaries on his life, Dinero magazine listed five hits and five great errors of his business career in an article titled “Lime and Sand” [es].

Cultural Center and Library Julio Mario Santo Domingo, photo by Colombia Travel on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Netizens also reacted in different ways.

The blog Soy Periodista [es], after reviewing his biography and several interesting facts, concludes with this sentence:

Paz en el panteón al gran Julio Mario Santo Domingo Pumarejo, benefactor social y económico de Colombia y otros países.

Peace in the pantheon to the great Julio Mario Santo Domingo Pumarejo, social and economic benefactor of  Colombia and other counties.

The Blog Radal Económico Internacional [es] also paid tribute to the businessman:

Murió siendo el segundo accionista de la segunda cervecera más grande del orbe, la surafricana SAB Miller, con la que negoció en 2005.

He died the second largest shareholder of the second largest brewer in the world, the South African SAB Miller, with whom he negotiated in 2005.

Daniela Gómez (@dgomezvittorino) shares what many other users tweeted regarding an article by Portafolio [es] which mentions [es] Steve Jobs’ 110 spot on Forbes, two spots after Julio Mario:

Julio Mario Santodomingo era incluso más rico que Steve Jobs!

Julio Mario Santodomingo was even richer than Steve Jobs!

Julian Velasco (@Julianchov) questions [es] Santo Domingo for selling his companies after they started growing in Colombia:

No creo que Julio Mario Santo Domingo sea alguien al que le debamos nada, antes el robo el país y después se fue vendiendo todo a extranjeros.

I don't think Julio Mario Santo Domingo is someone we owe something to, on the contrary, he stole from the country and then began selling everything to foreigners.

Pieranghela Riaño (@Pieranghela), tweeting with satire, casts doubts on the philanthropist label many have used to describe Santo Domingo:

Julio Mario SantoDomingo Filántropo??? Filántropos mis codos!!! Tanta caridad fue por beneficios tributarios.

Julio Mario Santodomingo a Philanthropist?? Yeah right!!! All that charity was done for tax benefits .

The blog Restauración Nacional posts an analysis titled “The King of Fraud”, and at the end quotes [es] from a book by journalist Gerardo Reyes [es], who criticizes the businessman:

Don Julio Mario, es una historia del capitalismo salvaje de este magnate, que describe la trayectoria empresarial y política de JM Santo Domingo, con varias de sus prácticas fraudulentas, respaldado con fuentes, que han costado algunos millones al bolsillo público del pueblo colombiano.

Don Julio Mario, is a story of this magnate's unbridled capitalism, which describes the business and political career of JM Santo Domingo with several of his fraudulent practices, backed up by sources, which have cost Colombians several millions.

Héctor Abad Facio Lince writes [es] in newspaper El Espectador [es] recalling the time Colombian Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez invited him to Santo Domingo's home in the United States. He adds:

[…] Resolvió salvar a El Espectador de una quiebra inminente. Y no sólo salvó esta empresa, que es un orgullo del periodismo colombiano, sino que (al menos en lo que a mí me consta como miembro del Consejo Editorial), nunca metió la mano para decir lo que debía pensarse o publicarse y lo que no.

[…] He managed to save El Espectador from imminent bankruptcy. And he did not only save the company, which is a pride of Colombian journalism, but (at least as far as I am aware as a member of the editorial board) he never interfered to tell us what we should think or what we should or should not publish.

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