[Marxism] Socialist Voice: Morales election is a victory for

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Sun Mar 12 07:05:36 MST 2006

David Walters wrote:

> In reply to Marvin, I think the one is mixes oranges and apples here, not
> to
> mention that Venezuelan oil was *already* nationalized back in the 1970s
> (completely and totally, BTW). So if there is a model for Morales to
> follow in
> Venezuela, it would have to start at this period *first* then start
> looking at
> the current situation.
> The countries are so different that it borders on a flight of fancy to
> apply, at
> least mechanically, the type of relationship that Chavez has organized for
> between his country's *nationalized* petroleum reserves, pumping,
> pipelines and
> refinery processing and the transnational oil companies on the one hand
> and
> Bolivia, which still imports gasoline and processed petroleum products. I
> have
> no doubt in my mind that had Chavez faced a totally privatized
> hydro-carbon
> situation a few years ago, then expropriation would of been the order of
> day...because the masses would of demanded it, just like they do now in
> Bolivia. People all over Bolivia are debating the deals Morales cut with
> the
> Spanish now, and the debate is all over the place, needless to say.
> What Venezuela had to do was a form of 'renationalization', that is, take
> which was state owned, stop it's privatization, replace it's
> bourgois-technocrat management, and make part of the Venezuelan nation,
> again.
>>From this point, the role of non-Venezuelan oil companies wishing to
>>invest *in
> a state own oil reserve*, using a State owned virtically integrated
> hydro-carbon
> infrastructure,  could be negotiated, easily, from a position of strength
> [Which, it should be pointed out, are now run largely by two pro-gov't
> unions
> in the oil fields, refineries, pumping stations and ports].
> Back to Bolivia. So, this nation is not even close to Venezuela in it's
> hyrocarbon infrastructure, which is underinvested in, and pumps some
> natural
> gas now to Brazil, but only about 8% of what it could. The region that the
> NG
> is located has just been granted "autonomy" to some degree, which will no
> doubt
> hinder the ability of the State to extract all the surplus value it could
> (as it
> happens, Chavez, in contrast, is attempting to smash, politically, a
> seperatist
> movement in the oil-producing region of that country, and not to encourage
> it).
> David
You're right to stress the differences - the major one being that the PdVSA
is large enough to finance Venezuela's social reforms by itself, while the
industry in Bolivia is still in foreign hands, together with the revenue
needed for social development.

But I still think the need is one thing, and the political problem is
another - the latter being the greater, not lesser, difficulty the weaker,
more capital-starved Bolivian state would have in quickly moving to outright
nationalization, particularly when the secessionist threat from the
energy-producing eastern part of the country seems to be more immediate than
in Venezuela, its national oil company is just being removed from mothballs,
and the influence of Brazil is stronger. It seems clear that Bolivia's
closest allies, the Cubans and Venezuelans, are also encouraging the new
government to press for a greater share of oil and gas revenues rather than
nationalization. Aren't these real pressures which need to be taken into
account by those critical of Morales' reluctance to expropriate the
companies until the relationship of forces within the industry and within
the country is further altered?

Incidentally, why it would be necessary to take over Petrobras' operations
rather than have Petro Bolivianos tie in with it as well as the PdVSA and
other state-run energy firms to develop an integrated Latin American energy

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