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Links: Bolivia Nationalizes Natural Gas Secto


Bolivia Nationalizes Natural Gas Sector

By Carlos Alberto Quiroga
Monday 01 May 2006

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La Paz, Bolivia - Bolivian President Evo Morales signed a decree on Monday to nationalize the hydrocarbons sector, requiring foreign-owned companies to turn over their natural gas fields to the state immediately and ordering the military to occupy them to ensure production.

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, a leftist leader of coca-leaf farmers, became president in January on vows to exert more state control over the country's natural resources. Radical leftists recently complained that he had made little progress on this front.

The president chose Labor Day, May 1, to announce the sector's nationalization, ordering companies to sign new operating contracts within 180 days or leave the country.
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Leftist Leaders Reject US Trade Plan

The Associated Press
Sunday 30 April 2006
Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba form economic/political alliance.

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Havana, Cuba - Bolivia's new left-leaning president signed a pact with Cuba and Venezuela on Saturday that rejects U.S.-backed free trade and promises a socialist version of regional commerce and cooperation.

With Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez seated nearby, President Evo Morales signed an updated version of the so-called Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, adding Bolivia as a third member.

"In Cuba and Venezuela we find unconditional solidarity," Morales said. "They are the best allies for changing Bolivia."

The document signed included the same language of the political declaration signed last year by Castro and Chavez. That pact contained much leftist rhetoric and few specifics, but was followed by closer economic ties and boosted trade between the two vehemently anti-U.S. governments.

After Bolivia was joined in the earlier agreement on Saturday, the three presidents signed a second document with more concrete proposals

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