Morales Nationalises Fuel Supplier on May Day; Carter Prepping for U.S.-Bolivia Relations
Bolivia’s president has brought the local unit of British aviation fuel supplier Air BP under state control.
Evo Morales announced the decree at a rally to mark international workers’ day on Friday, and ordered troops to take control of the company’s operations.
“I want to ask the Bolivian armed forces along with YPFB [the Bolivian state energy company] to gain control of Air BP, the multinational that sells jet fuel. With this decree, Air BP is now nationalised,” he said in a speech.
Shortly afterwards, local PAT television broadcast images of unarmed troops at Air BP facilities in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.
Earlier, negotiations on the takeover had been held between YPFB and Air BP, which operates 12 fuel stations at airports across the Andean country.
However, a BP spokesman in London told the Reuters news agency: “We were surprised by today’s takeover process. But we will continue to support the handover.”
Oscar Coca, Bolivia’s energy minister, said that the government planned to compensate BP. >>>
Ex-US President Jimmy Carter has arrived in Bolivia for a two-day visit to pave the way for the betterment of ties between the Andean nation and the US.
Carter told Bolivian President Evo Morales on Saturday that he harbored no doubts that President Barack Obama really meant it when he wished to bolster ties with Bolivia, AP reported.
Ties between the two regional countries strained following the September expulsion of the US ambassador by Morales on charges of igniting domestic protests and supporting opposition parties in separatist provinces.
The Bolivian President later shut down the US Drug Enforcement Administration office accusing its agents of espionage.
The mood was quite upbeat in Bolivia for a possible betterment of ties with the US following Obama’s initiation to the White House. However, in March Morales threw out the US Embassy’s second secretary, again on charges that he was conspiring with the opposition.
Carter expressed hope that La Paz would allow the return of the ousted Peace Corps to Bolivia, saying he would prepare a report for the White House and the State Department.
The US is worried about the spread of leftist ideology and anti-Americanism in its traditional backyard. At the same time it is anxious about an increasing presence of China and Russia in the region that are maintaining multi-billion dollar energy pipelines across the continent.