Seattle Times on Mexican Owner

Here's a Nov. 19, 1985, story from the Seattle Times, on Mario Vazquez Rana, the proposed new owner of UPI:


MEXICO CITY -- The Mexican publisher who is expected to buy United Press International said that he has no interest in focusing the news agency's coverage more on Third World issues.

Billionaire Mario Vazquez, who bid successfully for UPI, stands to become the first Third World owner of a major international news agency when the purchase is completed.

Many developing countries in recent years have criticized the dominant role of U.S. and Western European agencies in covering world news. A Third World campaign has sprung up at the United Nations and in other forums for a "new international information order."

Judging from Vazquez's comments in an interview here Saturday, however, his takeover of UPI will provide little satisfaction to advocates of increased coverage of the world's poorer countries.

"UPI won't serve the Third World. It will serve the world in general," Vazquez said. He stressed that UPI is based in the United States and has a large share of its market there.

"I can't go to the United States and consider myself a man of the Third World," he said.

Vazquez bid more than $40 million for UPI because of a strong personal ambition to broaden his interests and have an impact in international affairs, according to two business associates. He said he did not wish to extract profits from UPI, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since April, but wanted to restore the agency's "prestige."

"It's not important to me to make money. What is important is that UPI be good, that people say that UPI is a good agency, and that everybody believes what it says," Vazquez said.

Without committing himself to a figure, Vazquez suggested that he would be willing to invest between $15 million and $30 million in UPI to open new bureaus, buy new communications equipment and otherwise improve it.

Asked about his political views, Vazquez said that he supports Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, "because it is neither of the right nor of the left."

But he stressed that this was a personal "opinion" and that it would not affect UPI's coverage of Mexican affairs. He said that the party "criticized me very strongly" in July for publishing accusations of widespread vote fraud in state and legislative elections then.

Vazquez entered the news business in 1976, when he purchased a chain of near-bankrupt Mexican newspapers with profits from his family's furniture business. He now has 70 papers, of which the flagship is El Sol in Mexico City.