Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Bolivian President emits Hydrocarbons Decree

During May 1 International Worker's Day celebrations, President Evo Morales
emitted a decree requiring foreign companies to give the government a majorioty share in Bolivia's natural gas industry. In what some sources called a symbolic move, troops were deployed to the gas-fields. Bolivia has around 50 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves and exports most of it to Brazil and Argentina. Since these resources were privatizatized in the 1990s, there have been demands to re-nationalize them. Although Evo Morales won a stunning victory in the December 2005, he has made it clear that his "nationalization" plans will not infringe on the assets of the corporations.


Repsol May Cut Bolivian Reserves Estimates
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Spanish-Argentine energy company Repsol YPF may have to lower its estimates of gas reserves in Bolivia when new legislation there comes becomes law, the company's chairman said Friday.
The WAPO is certainly right on this: Coca has been cultivated in the rolling green valleys of the Yungas for centuries and the region's coca crops are considered grown for traditional uses such as chewing or making tea to ward off hunger and altitude sickness.

As for this: The government is optimistic of finding markets for the country's legal coca products in Venezuela, Cuba, China and India -- which officials say have already expressed interest. ...More power to them!!

On a broader topic, I tend to agree with Teddy Chestnut and Anita Joseph of the Council of Hemispheric Affairs:

Latin America has been plagued by revolution, sparking upheavals in Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Chiapas, Mexico, where the IMF's failed promises to promote economic prosperity via the policy prescriptions of the "Washington Consensus" have often played an instigating role. Not surprisingly, the Consensus has come to signify a hard-line, neoliberal set of policies emphasizing export-oriented growth though rapid, sweeping economic reform. This was not the Consensus' original intention. Nevertheless, the IMF's aggressive interpretation of its recommendations and history of repeated failure has hindered growth in Latin America and tarnished the Washington Consensus' otherwise defensible formula for promoting prosperity in developing countries.
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