Alejandro Betancourt Lopez is a Venezuelan businessman who was the wealthiest person in Venezuela. He is the son of former Venezuelan President Rómulo Betancourt and served as Minister of Development under Rómulo Betancourt in the early 1960s. He is an amateur musician and composer. Betancourt Lopez has been described as “the richest man in Venezuela” by “Forbes” magazine and was ranked among the top ten wealthiest people in Venezuela by “Forbes.” In 2004, his net worth was estimated at US$1 billion. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez began his career on a farm in Aragua, where he started a small cattle ranching operation. In the 1950s, he ventured into food processing and used his savings to launch a company that manufactured frozen food. He later diversified into an oil refining and cement production. Betancourt Lopez was a significant shareholder of Cementos Progreso from 1986 to 1993, when it was sold to the Brazilian firm Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) for $2.4 billion. Betancourt Lopez became an advisor for CSN’s Venezuelan subsidiary, Cementos de Venezuela (CDEVSA). CDEVSA was sold to China’s CITIC Pacific Corporation for $1 billion in 1995; Betancourt Lopez still served as an advisor for CDEVSA during this period.
To be successful,Alejandro Betancourt Lopez was able to combine his business acumen and his political connections. He gained the trust of Rómulo Betancourt, who appointed him Minister of Economy in 1961. He became a member of the board of directors at CITIC and was an advisor for CDEVSA.