[Marxism] Evo Morales celebrates May Day appropriately

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 2 07:37:17 MDT 2012


Bolivia nationalizes unit of Spain's Red Electrica
Tue, May 1 2012

By Carlos Quiroga

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales marked May 
Day on Tuesday by nationalizing the local unit of Spain's Red Electrica 
(REE.MC: Quote, Profile, Research), ratcheting up tension between the 
former colonial power and South American governments eager to assert 
control over energy resources.

Morales ordered the army to take over the Cochabamba headquarters of the 
power transmission company known as TDE.

The move came two weeks after Argentina unveiled a plan to take control 
of the country's No. 1 oil company, YPF (YPFD.BA: Quote, Profile, 
Research), from majority shareholder Repsol (REP.MC: Quote, Profile, 
Research), based in Madrid.

Morales said the TDE nationalization stems from the company's lack of 
investment in Bolivia. Argentina used a similar justification for its 
takeover of YPF.

"In honour of all Bolivian people who have struggled to recuperate our 
natural resources and basic services, we are nationalizing 
Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE)," Morales said during his official 
address for May Day, also known as International Workers Day.

"Bolivia still needs partners, but not owners," he said after ordering 
the army to take over TDE's installations. TV images showed armed 
soldiers controlling access to and from the company's headquarters.

Spain's government, which vowed to halt imports of Argentine biodiesel 
after the seizure of YPF, had no immediate comment on Tuesday while it 
evaluated Bolivia's announcement.

"This, and the Argentine nationalization of 51 percent of YPF, are 
developments that concern foreign investors, and domestic investors as 
well," said Alberto Ramos, who analyzes Latin America for Goldman Sachs.

"But fortunately this type of event is circumscribed to a small set of 
countries in the region that are pursuing heterodox economic experiments 
and that are increasingly less integrated into the global economy," 
Ramos added.

TDE administers 1,900 kilometres of power lines in Bolivia. Red 
Electrica indirectly holds 99.9 percent of the company, which reported 
net profits of 12.5 million euros (10.2 million pounds) last year, 
accounting for less than 3 percent of Red Electrica's 2011 net profits.

Red Electrica officials were not immediately available for comment, but 
a Spanish government source in Madrid said authorities were in touch 
with La Paz to discuss technical and diplomatic aspects of the 

In 2006, Morales used the May 1 holiday to announce the takeover of 
petroleum companies operating in Bolivia. He later nationalized oil and 
gas reserves to redistribute wealth to the landlocked country's 
indigenous majority.

Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuador's President Rafael 
Correa are leading a push in the region for governments to reclaim 
control over natural resources.

South America is a major supplier of commodities, particularly for the 
emerging economies of Asia.

Argentina, one of the world's top grains exporters, is expected on 
Thursday or Friday to get final legislative approval for the bill 
allowing the government to take control of YPF.

(Reporting By Carlos Quiroga in La Paz and Carlos Ruano and Paul Day in 
Madrid; writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Phil 
Berlowitz, John Wallace and David Gregorio)

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