Bolivia nationalises four power plants on May Day

Issue 

As has become the tradition in recent years, Bolivian President Evo Morales celebrated May Day (May 1, the international workers’ day) by announcing the nationalisation of foreign-owned firms.

Morales announced the state take-over of four power companies, as part of his government’s drive to strengthen the state sector to help reverse centuries of foreign exploitation of Bolivian resources.

Reuters said on May 1 that the Morales government “nationalised Bolivia's key natural gas industry soon after taking office in 2006 and has since taken control of several utility companies as well as the Andean nation's biggest smelter and top telecommunications firm”.

Morales said: “We're here ... to nationalise all the hydroelectric plants that were owned by the state before, to comply with the new constitution of the Bolivian state. Basic services cannot be a private business. We're recovering the energy, the light, for all Bolivians.”

He said the state now controls 80% of Bolivia’s electricity generation and was aiming for complete government control over the sector.