Manfredo Kempff writes in El Deber:
Nationalization or purchase?
That of recovering the companies for the people is becoming for us, a very expensive activity, and each May 1st or such emblematic date of the MAS, we must tremble because the usual ‘nationalization’, which are not another thing that purchases of foreign companies, which becomes dignity and sovereignty, say so. What matters, however, is that the nationalizations, now as before, are not but a farce, with revolutionary overtones, designed to mislead public opinion.
We are tired of listening that neo-Liberals were devoted to sell at a price of dead chicken, the State enterprises and raffle our natural resources. We do not know if that is true or not. If all sold or if any ‘capitalization’ was good and attracted investment. But what we are seeing now is frightening, because the pluri-national State does not sell companies, but that has been dedicated to buy them on ‘credit’, if not, take them and then refuses to pay. The State lies, claiming it nationalizes when you know that every gift to the people of Bolivia is an expensive acquisition.
H.E. [His Excellency] is outraged because Britain’s Rurelec (Guaracachi) is awaiting that Bolivia pays $41 million dollars, as a result of a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. The Tribunal said that nationalization was illegal and that, therefore, the State has to spend that money. The bad thing is they are pending from what that same court says, the Pan American Energy from the nationalization of its shares in Chaco, no less than $1,496 million,the $86 million claim from Spanish Sabsa and other nationalized claims than will become a very expensive Bill.
The nationalizations have cost toothaches in the country, starting with mining in 1952 and by the GULF in 1969. Thought those nationalizing Governments to miners as Patiño and others were to stand idle? Or that the GULF would not move their lawyers? Of course, people always is fooled, and those rulers pose as revolutionaries when in fact were lousy buyers. Because to compensate large scale mining and then have mining go bankrupt with the Comibol was disastrous. And compensate the GULF and then pray for foreign investing companies to be back, was a damaging and expensive show.
Although it is already late, H.E. should celebrate his emblematic dates otherwise and do not throw away money, although it may now abound.
Demagogue coupled with incompetence places Bolivia further down; narcotrafficking, anarchy and lack of justice pushes us to the abyss!