May 02, 2006

Viva Morales!

The new leader of South America's poorest nation follows Hugo Chavez's lead and orders the military to seize Bolivia's gas fields:
Bolivian President Evo Morales ordered the military to occupy the country's natural gas fields after nationalising the hydrocarbons sector and threatening to expel foreign companies if they do not sign new contracts within six months.

Impoverished Bolivia has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela, and the question of how the country should manage these riches has been at the heart of several popular revolts since 2003...

Morales had promised to nationalise the gas sector even during his campaign but repeatedly said he would not expropriate foreign companies' assets.

Bolivia's actions echo what Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a Morales ally, did in the world's fifth-largest oil exporter with forced contract migrations and retroactive tax hikes - conditions that oil majors largely agreed to accept.


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