Monday, May 01, 2006
This is another sad chapter in Latin American political and economic history. As countries in Asia try to improve relations with the United States by liberalizing their economies (as well as improving their lot), a growing number of Latin American countries think it's a good idea to thumb their nose towards their neighbor in the north.
Unfortunately, the poor undeserving poverty stricken people of Latin America are being hurt by their petty leaders. Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are power hungry and greedy strong men who believe in the cult of personality rather than the abilities and talents of their countrymen.
President Evo Morales ordered soldiers to occupy Bolivia's natural gas fields Monday and threatened to evict foreign companies unless they give Bolivia control over the entire chain of production.
Morales said soldiers and engineers with Bolivia's state-owned oil company would be sent "immediately" to installations and gas fields tapped by foreign petroleum companies _ including Britain's BG Group PLC and BP PLC, Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA and U.S.-based Exxon Mobil Corp.
Morales, a leftist allied with Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in seeking to blunt U.S. and outside influence in the region, had pledged to exert greater state control over the industry since he won the presidency in December, becoming Bolivia's first Indian president.
The companies have six months to agree to new contracts, or must leave Bolivia, he said.
"The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources," Morales said in a speech from the San Alberto petroleum field in southern Bolivia operated by Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA in association with the Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA and Total.
"The looting by the foreign companies has ended," Morales declared.
The way out for Latin America is to root out corruption. For too long, the poor people have never been given a chance and now it looks like Morales is yet another petty leader who is only looking for short term goals.