Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bolivia expropriated a Spanish energy company

Bolivian President Evo Morales ordered the expropriation of the shares that Spanish Electricity Network (REE) had in an energy transportation company in Bolivia and ordered the armed forces guarding the premises of the firm.

The nationalization came just two weeks after the re-nationalization of Argentina's YPF and a few hours before opening to the president of the Spanish oil company Repsol, Antonio Brufau, the second gas processing plant Margarita field in southern Bolivia, which will increase exports to Argentina.

"Today again, as a just tribute to the workers and the Bolivian people who fought for the recovery of natural resources and basic services, nationalized the Transportadora de Electricidad," Morales said in a Labor Day event at the Palace of Government of La Paz.

Morales announced that 73 percent of the transmission lines in the interconnected electricity system will return to control of the Company
National Electricity (Ende), based in Cochabamba, in the center of the country. The Conveyor Electricity was privatized in 1997, was in charge of 1,961 kilometers of electricity transmission lines and 22 substations in Bolivia.

"The entire chain of electricity will be in the hands of the Bolivian state," Morales said after promulgating the Decree 1214 of nationalization of electricity transmission.

Morales said the alleged expropriation by low investments by Spanish companies. "In 16 years, private enterprise has invested only five million dollars a year," he said.

Every first of May, in the six years of his government, Morales announced nationalization. This year, the announcement came amid protests in the streets, where workers demand higher wages, while doctors and health workers have 34 days on strike to demand better working conditions.

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