YPF

John Paul Rathbone

President Evo Morales of Bolivia – following in Argentina's nationalisation footsteps? Reuters

There seems to be a domino effect in Latin America. Two weeks after President Cristina Fernández nationalised Spanish oil company Repsol’s stake in Argentina’s YPF, President Evo Morales has nationalised Spanish electricity grid operator Red Eléctrica’s business in neighbouring Bolivia.

In both cases, troops were sent in to underline the glorious nationalism of the occasion. But does this mark a new wave of populism and nationalisations in the region? Almost certainly not. 

Cristina Fernández holds a sample of the first petroleum extraction in Argentina as she makes the YPF announcement (Getty)

On Monday Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s president, announced the renationalisation of the oil company YPF, ousting the Spanish group Repsol as majority owner and prompting a furious response from Madrid. With Spain and the European Union pondering how best to respond, we cast an eye back at ten of the most momentous nationalisations of resource/commodity institutions. (We are omitting the across-the-board, everything-must-go nationalisations of Russia and China after their respective Communist revolutions, for reasons of space).