Monday, May 23, 2005

Bolivia's Military and the New Gas Law

Looks like the New Oil and Gas Law will increase the tax burden on the multi-national gas producers by 240 million
One thing I am really curious about is the fact that two of the biggest companies involved in exploration, and production of natural gas in Bolivia are Petrobas and Repsol, as well as British Petroleum. Here is a 'scholarly' view of the development of this sector, this paper details the Brazilian/Petrobas side of things. So we have Spanish and Brazilian owned companies P.O.d at Bolivia. Will their governments bitch about this??? Are they already bitching. According to one estimate, foreign companies invested around 3.7 Billion dollars according to this CSM article

Nationalization is just crazy at this point. It means going back to the old days of State control, which wasn't that bad when there was talented people running it. But, corruption is inevitable no matter who runs it. Worse yet, you can end up with a situation like Venezuela's where the government has either over-estimated production, or hundreds of millions of dollars are disapearing like magic. Or you can end up like Mexico where the lack of new investment is keeping Pemex hopelessly antiquated.

The MAS and the Aymara nationalists seem split over what they want, Evo and MAS seem to be asking for 50 percent of the take, Quispe and the miners 'nationalization'. For even more fun, looks like the military wants in!!! Coup time in La Paz???
Santa Cruz and Tarija want 'autonomy', which means "screw La Paz" & "Screw the Indians" (Aymaras) who live in La Paz. The military ominously warns about threats to the nation's 'unity'. The military, - with its sizeable Aymara contingent-, has these quasi-Prussian views of itself as the guardian of the country's territorial 'integrity'. The question is where and against whom would they act? Against Santa Cruz??? Or against the mainly Indian and Mestizo folks in El Alto? Either way they would have to kick out the president first, and suspend the Congress/Senate.


The New Irish, is how this Newsweek writer describes the role of Mexican-Americans. I would venture to say he is right, but I would also include the Puerto Rican-Mexican alliance in Chicago, who have done a masterful job of influencing City Hall. Congressman Louie's district is mostly Mexican at this point, but his machine is so well run that he beat back the well-financed challenge from Marty Castro, a very savvy Mexican-American lawyer.