You want cojones? You got ’em…
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has signed a decree placing his country’s energy industry under state control.
In a May Day speech, he said foreign energy firms must agree to channel all their sales through the Bolivian state, or else leave the country.
He set the firms a six-month deadline, but the military and state energy officials have already started taking control of the oil fields.
Bolivia has South America’s second largest natural gas reserves.
But the country has suffered years of political crises over how to develop and profit from the industry.
Speaking at an oilfield in the south of the country, Bolivia’s left-wing president called it an “historic day”.
“The pillage of our natural resources by foreign companies is over,” he declared.
He said the companies had six months to re-negotiate their contracts and urged them to “respect the dignity of Bolivians”.
Foreign companies would receive 18% of oil and gas revenues during the transition period, reports said.
What a way to celebrate Beltane. I think I have a new crush. Evo, like his pal Hugo, is definitely the boss.
BTW, speaking of bosses, here’s another one who hates to be known by that nickname, however well earned:
Bruce Springsteen has criticised politicians for “criminal ineptitude” in their response to Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States.
The singer was performing at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, parts of which he had visited after they were devastated in the disaster.
“I saw sights I never thought I’d see in an American city,” he said. “The criminal ineptitude makes you furious.”
More than 1,300 people were killed across US states affected by Katrina.
The population of New Orleans fell from nearly 500,000 to less than 200,000.
Fans cried and embraced during poignant songs in Springsteen’s set.
In one, “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?”, the lyrics referred to “bodies floating” in the street and levees which had “gone to hell”.
In a world bereft of heroes (RIP John Kenneth Galbraith, great Canadian!), it’s nice to know that there are still some left.