Bolivia Nationalizes Gas and Oil

Of an unexpected way, the bolivian May 1st was marked by the occupation, by the army troops, of the installations of many oil companys in the country. The action, that had the presence of the president Evo Morales in one of the refineries, marked the beginning of the nationalization of gas and the oil. The Bolivian vice president, Álvaro García, said that members of staff of the state-owned company, Yacimientos Oil-producing Fiscales Bolivian (YPFB), and soldiers started to assume the control of the 56 oil-producing installations. Recently, the Bolivian Worker Centre (COB), one of the main political-social forces, complained about the few advancements of the government in the nationalization of the natural resources. Parallel to the mobilizations of May 1st called by the Movement toward Socialism (MAS) - party of the president Evo Morales - COB had called a mobilization to reject "the negative of Evo Morales in expel the transnational, nationalize without compensation the gas and the oil and put an end to the domain of the neoliberalism and land-owners". It's not yet possible to evaluate the impact of the decision of the Bolivian government in the relations with the COB, that together with the multinationals was cought by surprise by the decree.

The Brazilian governmet was astonished and set up a meeting between a few south american presidents such as Lula, Chavez and Kirchner, schedule to take place in this thursday, 04/05, for evealuate which measures to take. The Spain/Argentina's company, Repsol YPF, also shown some concerns about the measure. The Spanish Prime Minister has expressed “deep concern”. Respsol YPF, control's 25,7% of the bolivian's gas production. The situation should stayed more complex since soon after the decree Evo Morales promised to nationalize all of the natural resources of the country: “We are beginning it nationalize the hydrocarbons. Tomorrow it will be the mining, the forest resources. It will be all the natural resources”.

Releated articles: Bolivia nationalizes gas and oil: Lula call out an emergency meeting [PT] | Bolivia nationalizes gas and oil [PT]

For more information check out: Econews | Carta Maior Angency | Indymedia Bolivia | Indymedia Brasil

The measures of the Bolivian government were beyond the expected. The state assumed the majority control (51% of the actions) of all the oil-producing companies in the country and two refineries of the Petrobrás (brazilian state company); decreed an increase of the gas tax of 50% for 82% and gave a period of time of 180 days for the companies accept the measures, otherwise they will have to leave the country. Beyond the Petrobrás, that corresponds to 15% of the Gross Domestic Produc of the country, operates in Bolivia oil-producing companies such as, Repsol YPF (Spain and Argentina), British Gas and British Petroleum (United Kingdom), Total (France), Dong Wong (Korea) and Canadian Energy (Canada). Formerly, in the beginning of the privatization process, the companies stayed with 82% of the invoicing and the state with 18% left. In that time, the executives of the company Repsol YPF (Spain and Argentina) celebrated the fact that, for each dollar they put in Bolivia, the company got 10 dollars of profit. So far that noboy know if the compannies will be compensated or the Bolivian state will indeed expropiate the companies real estate. “The loot of our natural resources by foreing companies it's over”, said Morales, after reading the decree.

add a comment on this article

by Latuff

Wolfe 03.May.2006 18:50

The oil is ours
The oil is ours

The oil is ours! (translation)

oh wonderful

anonymous 17.May.2006 03:35

now the bureaucrats and oligarchs of bolivia can exploit the natural resources, instead of foreign bureaucrats and foreign oligarchs. how wonderful for the people.

just imagine the US government taking over vast tracts of land and natural resources. oh wait, thats what has happened in the western states; a large organization like the Interior department acts like an absentee landlord, with a year round residence 2000 miles away in Washington DC. if you dont believe me, just ask the Indians.

big corporations can be bad, but big government is not much better in many areas of life.


Paulo Silva Junior 12.Jun.2006 14:05

Gostaria de indicar para leitura um artigo publicado em que contém boas informações a respeito do tema "crise boliviana". Obrigado Paulo.