May 2, 2006
Carrying out his anti-imperialistic rhetoric, President Evo Morales ordered troops into natural gas installations yesterday. He is demanding that foreign companies grant oversight powers to the Bolivian government and share a greater proportion of their total revenues with the government. This amounts to extortion, and may well be the first step toward formal nationalization. That would send shivers down the spines of international investors. Washington Post. This is almost exactly the same thing that the new military government of Peru did in October 1968, when troops occupied the oil facilities of Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon-Mobil). This vain, self-defeating move by Bolivia in turn will discourage future investment in Latin America, which desperately needs new investment, thus reducing job opportunities and increasing the pressure for more immigration to the United States. Could the coincidence with what is happening in the United States right now possibly be any more ironic?
There were big marches in downtown Mexico City yesterday, expressing "solidarity" with immigrants in the United States who staged a nationwide boycott. Some of the protesters belonging to labor unions were boycotting Walmart, McDonalds, and American-made goods in general, and some were even demanding that Americans get out of Mexico, calling for "A day without gringos"; see CNN.com. This was an ironic twist on the movie A Day Without a Mexican; see Internet Movie Database. President Fox asked protesters to be "prudent," but he has consciously appealed to nationalistic sentiment, and probably deserves some of the responsibility for this silliness.