I haven’t blogged about it this time, partially because my dad isn’t trapped there this time, but after another bouth of unrest, Bolivia is on its 3rd president in as many years (i think). Populist political leaders have used the nationalization of the country’s natural gas industry to channel the dissatisfaction of ordinary Bolicians into political action. From afar, its easy to realize that driving away much-needed foreign capital to export said natural gas is not a rational choice of course. Bolivian society needs to change in fudamental ways – particularly to improve the economic and living conditions of the poorest (and majority) of Bolivian citizens, that much is clear. But the country is made up of the European descendarnt Haves, who are content with the status quo, and the indigeneough Have-nots – who are impatient for ANY change that might improve their lives and will support demagogues who promise it to them. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a strong, unifying leader emergin who can peacefully bring this transformation about.
Former president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada has this slightly rambling analysis at FT.com.
Bolivia gains more by working with foreign investment than by shunning
the international economic system. This is no time to start another
quixotic quest to nationalise the oil