By Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas, Washington
Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America. Along with Haiti and Nicaragua, it is one of the poorest in all of the western hemisphere. So what’s President Evo Morales’ latest strategy to improve social indicators? Expel USAID, the US government aid agency that spent some $28m last year promoting healthcare among poor Bolivians and working to protect the environment. Continue reading »
Spain’s economic crisis is writ large in the Inter-American Development Bank’s latest statistics on remittance flows to Latin America.
For years, thousands of Bolivians, Ecuadoreans and Colombians have been among those to seek work in Spain, legally or illegally. Whether young educated professionals, or poor maids, cleaners and construction labourers, these workers could see the advantages of saving Euros that would magically multiply back home into pesos or dollars or bolivianos. Continue reading »
Can I nationalise you?
For a country with a fondness for nationalisations and getting its way, going to full arbitration might feel a little, well, odd. Bolivia has been placing companies under state control on and off since May 2006.
So how did UK-based power company Rurelec manage to get Bolivia to go to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the nationalisation of the assets of its local subsidiary, Guaracachi, almost three years ago? Continue reading »
Evo Morales strikes again. On Monday, Bolivia’s president nationalised the operations of the country’s three largest airports – taking over the local unit of Barcelona-based Abertis Infrastructuras SA and AENA, Spain’s airport authority.
The seizure of the airport operations in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba is Morales’ third expropriation in 10 months. In December, his government seized two electricity distribution companies owned by Spain’s Iberdrola. Six months earlier on May Day, it nationalised the assets of Spain’s Red Eléctrica. Continue reading »
Trying to carve out a Bolivian mining industry purely on his own terms is proving tricky for Bolivia’s leftwing President Evo Morales.
Recently, he was forced to give out some disappointing numbers about the performance of the Colquiri mine, which the government took over from London-listed commodities giant Glencore in June of last year, during a dispute between rival mining unions. Continue reading »
It looks like another tough battle is in store for one more foreign utility owner fighting back against Bolivian nationalisation.
Red Eléctrica, the Spanish power grid operator, is to seek arbitration at ICSID, the World Bank’s investment dispute settlement agency, after Bolivian troops marched in to take over Transportadora de Electricidad, which handles about three quarters of electricity transmission in the Andrean country, in May last year. Continue reading »
Walking around the Uyuni salt flats, all you see is a dry and crusty white nothingness stretching to the horizon. But underneath this almost-lunar landscape in Bolivia’s Andean plateau is half the world’s lithium – the lightest metal on the planet, used in the batteries that drive a host of modern gadgetry and a potential power source for electric vehicles.
Now Bolivia wants to cash in on the value to be added to this precious resource, with the opening of the country’s first lithium processing plant. Continue reading »
Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was often cast as a champion of the environment. So much, that last month Bolivia passed the world’s first ruling that grants rights to nature.
The law, which the former llama herder and coca grower called a means “to live in equilibrium and harmony with Mother Earth,” gives spiritual value to the land – way beyond its intrinsic environmental, social, and not to mention, economic significance. Continue reading »
It took a while – over ninety years since the last one and almost nine months since it was first announced. But Bolivia finally took the plunge into the global credit market on Monday, with the launch of a $500m bond issue. Continue reading »
After comings and goings, Bolivia’s leftist government with an indigenous twist finally ruled out paying compensation to Canada’s South American Silver, two months after their mining licence was revoked.
“The nation has no financial obligation to South American Silver,” mining minister Mario Virreira told reporters, adding there was “never any document establishing that the Bolivian government had a contractual relationship” with the Vancouver-based company. Continue reading »
Next time a president of a resource-rich country thinks nationalisation of mining assets is a way of solving internal conflicts, s/he would do well to take a look at Bolivia, where salaried and independent miners have been violently fighting for the control of a recently nationalised mine. Continue reading »
He believes capitalism has grown a little old. He believes that system is in decline. He believes nationalisations would not scare away foreign investors. He believes people would rush to buy his bonds. He believes he has the right alternative. Let beyondbrics introduce you Bolivia’s finance minister, Luis Arce Catacora (pictured).
“We are facing a structural crisis of capitalism. Capitalism is the old man around, an old man that is no longer responding to the advances of mankind demands. It is time for a change.” Continue reading »
Mining has been the backbone of the recent growth of Bolivia and Peru. It also seems to be potential money spinner for their Andean neighbour, Ecuador. But despite certain ideological similarities, when it comes to mining, the approaches of their leaders seem to differ.
In Bolivia, after some protracted protests, the government of Evo Morales on Thursday signed a decree authorizing the seizure of a silver deposit operated by South American Silver, part of a Canadian mining group. Continue reading »
That was then
Bolivia looked friendly enough back in 2007 when India’s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd secured 40-year development rights to the El Mutún mine, considered one of the largest untapped iron ore deposits in the world.
But after years of disputes with the leftwing government of Evo Morales, the steel giant has pulled the plug on the $2.1bn mining venture – the single biggest foreign investment in Bolivia. It blamed the decision on the Andean nation’s “non-friendly business attitude.” Continue reading »