Bolivian president Evo Morales yesterday accused Spanish prime minister Zapatero of not fulfilling his own promises. At a press conference before the European Union-Latin American summit in Vienna, Morales claimed that Zapatero promised to double Spanish aid to Bolivia should he, Morales, be elected. After Morales’s reproaches, the Zapatero administration announced an increase in aid, while Spanish energy company Repsol-YPF announced that it would take the Bolivian government to court if no agreement were reached on the effects of Morales’s nationalization.
At the press conference, Morales also claimed that Zapatero had offered to forgive Bolivia’s debt to Spain, “and I haven’t seen that, either.” Morales added that he hoped the Spaniards “would not be revengeful” in the wake of the fossil fuel nationalization. In a diplomatic snub, he left Spain out of a list of countries, including Cuba and Venezuela, that were cooperating “unconditionally” with his government.
Morales said, “Zapatero is a strategic ally for Bolivia,” and showed interest in bilateral talks in order to deal with problems affecting the two nations. Morales, who said he was also interested in dialogue with other European countries, also made allusion to “the black history of colonialism” and “reparations for the damage.” During the colonial period, he said, “there were policies of extermination of the indigenous peoples, and now it is important to recognize that those policies were wrong. I want to make a commitment to governments that think about majorities and repairing the damages of those 500 years.”
Both Mr Morales and Mr Chávez warned they could pull their countries from the five-nation group if the other members moved to conclude deals with the US.
Colombia and Peru have reached such agreements with Washington, and the deals must now be approved by their legislatures. Ecuador is still negotiating.
and Times Online:
Tony Blair, whom Señor Chavez has called the “main ally to Hitler” for his support of President George Bush and the war in Iraq, was more explicit, asking the two leaders to act responsibly.
“What countries do in their energy policy when they are energy producers like Bolivia and Venezuela matters enormously to all of us,” he said. “My only plea is that people exercise the power they have got in this regard responsibly for the whole of the international community.”
Since coming to power in December, Señor Morales has openly set about wooing China, South Africa and Iran as alternatives to traditional trading partners in Europe and North America.
Well, then, he can go and ask Iran, South Africa and China to aid him in exchange for the oil and gas resources…
Right Truth has more about Morales:
This story is interesting because it displays all of the lurid details of a corrupt socialist mindset, like a page torn out of the later chapters of Atlas Shrugged. For example, here is the style of the takeover:
Wearing a hard hat and flanked by uniformed police officers, Andrés Soliz Rada, the energy minister, reiterated that multinational companies had six months to negotiate new contracts, many of which are likely to vastly increase the state’s take.
But this is the best detail: the state-owned company that is taking over the natural gas fields has no money to develop them. But that’s no problem, the Bolivian government declared, because foreign oil companies-the same companies the government had just expropriated-would be eager to invest in Bolivia.
The decree puts the Bolivian government’s energy firm, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos, better known as YPFB, front and center. Instead of a small auditing firm, Yacimientos would, under Mr. Morales’s decree, become an equal partner with giants like Repsol YPF SA of Spain and Total of France. In an interview, Jorge Alvarado, the president of the Bolivian company, who stood beside Mr. Soliz Rada at the news conference, admitted Yacimientos had no money. Asked how it would develop the country’s gas fields if foreign investment evaporated, Mr. Alvarado said he was certain that foreign companies remained eager to continue in Bolivia.
“I want to be sincere,” he said. “YPFB, because of the neoliberal [i.e., pro-free-market] model, has been reduced to a minimum. It has no economic resources. But we see that there is much interest by foreign companies that want to invest in the country.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales yesterday warned that foreign companies may not be compensated after the nationalization of their operations in his country. “There are companies in Bolivia that don’t respect Bolivian laws. They have betrayed our country,” Mr. Morales told a press conference at a European Union-Latin American summit here. Mr. Morales’ comments threw into doubt an agreement announced hours earlier by Brazilian and Bolivian officials meeting in the Bolivian capital of La Paz. The officials late Wednesday said the two governments were creating a commission to study how energy companies would be compensated in the wake of the nationalization.
Freelance Corner reflects on the subject:
[…] So if a firm is conducting itself irregularly, the judiciary is not the one who should punish the culprits and ask them to pay the amounts they are required. It is the Government who must just empowered himself of the firms without giving the stakeholders the amounts they have the right to be given.
Evo Morales’ nationalization of Bolivia’s energy resources seemed to be the act of a retrograde madman intent on repeating the mistakes of the 1960s. And largely, that’s what he is. He’s taking Bolivia right down the road to ruin, as if this poor country can afford any more of that. Nationalization has got to be the stupidest, insanest, most guaranteed-to-fail thing he can possibly do for, or rather, to, Bolivia. Yet there are many people … for now … who support him. It defies belief that in this day and age, anyone could possibly support the messes of the idiotic 1960s. But there are people who do, and they are the core base of support that convincingly elected Evo Morales president last December.
On Tuesday, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said mining companies could face higher taxes and royalty payments and that the government will intensify enforcement of existing laws to break up big underdeveloped land holdings, apparently to turn them over to the poor.
I cannot understand Zapatero. Spanish people are paying him (and Repsol is Spanish), not Morales. It’s very good to be famous and well-considered, BUT….
Independent organizations such as FULIDE, a prestigious Bolivian think-tank, and numerous media stories indicate there are already more than five thousand Cuban and Venezuelan advisors in Bolivia. A recent study by the University of Miami mentioned a prominent Cuban Colonel as part of Mr. Morales’ personal security. Ostensibly the Cubans provide services in areas such as health and education. They are helping Morales establish something akin to the “missions” that Chávez has set up in Venezuela and which have become vehicles for social handouts. These social services have been welcomed in Venezuela’s poorest neighborhoods but have become tools for agitprop and political regimentation.
Mr. Morales is also moving fast to control the electoral system. The most important step he has taken to undermine the system’s independence is the new electoral register. The overall objective is to pack his constituent assembly, which will be elected this summer, with his supporters and then re-write the constitution to fit his political needs, “a la Chávez.” For that, he needs even more votes than he got in his presidential election. He has given the police control of the process by fusing two separate operations – the creation of a new identity census and a new electoral register – with the result that the electoral register, which used to be solely controlled by the National Electoral Court, is now handled by the police. It is not surprising that 650,000 new voters have now been added to the electoral register. Venezuelan advisors are also helping Morales with this process.
So in the end, the foreign policy of Spain has, with this Government, two commandatory “inspirations”: Al Qaeda and the indigenous leaders of lati-America: From GEES
The final impression is that a dictator in Caracas is pointing out the foreign policy of a European democracy as Spain is. The reality is that Zapatero is only one more instrument in the Anti-American crusade of Chaves, in its fight to rehab Castro’s dictatorship as a legitimate and respectable regime in the international scenery and in the expansion throughout Latin-America of the bolivarian revolution. Never Spanish foreign policy was so low profiled.