< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Bolivian President Seizes Gas Industry

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bolivian President Seizes Gas Industry

From the Washington Post:

Bolivian President Evo Morales seized control of the country's natural gas industry Monday, sending soldiers to occupy fields that he contends private companies have plundered for years.

Morales said that unless foreign energy firms agreed to give Bolivia's state oil company oversight of production and a majority of their revenue generated in Bolivia, the government would evict them from the fields.

It will be interesting to see how Washington reacts to this move by Morales as past actions at nationalizing key industries has resulted in the overthrow of democratically elected governments (Iran in 1954, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973). I don't think that will happen in this case however, since the U.S. is more concerned with the Middle East right now. In addition, the article reports that, "About 25 international energy firms operate in Bolivia. Brazil's Petrobras and Spain's Repsol YPF have the largest operations in the country, and Exxon Mobil Corp. of the United States maintains a smaller presence." So perhaps our business interests are not threatened enough to send in the military like in the past. I'd like to know about others reactions to this news and what you think the future holds for the Bolivia/U.S. relationship.

Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes


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