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Montevideo, October 27th 2016 - 14:47 UTC

Morales nationalizes control of Bolivia three main airports

Monday, February 18th 2013 - 16:29 UTC
Full article 38 comments
Bolivian president argued Spanish operators had not fulfilled investment commitments Bolivian president argued Spanish operators had not fulfilled investment commitments

Populist Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday nationalized control of the country’s three main airports from Spain’s operator Abertis-Aena, arguing that the company had not fulfilled investments commitments promised for years.

On Monday the government of Bolivia decided to seize control of the shares from Servicios Aeroportuarios Bolivianos, S.A., Sabsa, announced President Morales during a ceremony in Cochabamba.

He went further and accused the Spanish companies Albertis-Aena of “looting Bolivia’s air terminals” business.

“I want to let the people of Bolivia know about the nationalization of Sabsa,” Morales said in a televised speech.

“SABSA invested 3.7 million dollars and made a profit of 20 million dollars” claimed Morales who added that the Spanish operators with an initial investment of 3.7 million dollars ended managing 430 million dollars annually.

Morales has steadily tightened state control over the landlocked country’s small economy since taking office in 2006. Earlier this month, a government minister said a Sabsa proposal to invest 36 million dollars over the next nine years was insufficient and that a decision on scrapping the concession would probably be made sometime in February.

Infrastructure company Abertis will be paid compensation for Sabsa on the basis of an independent audit that will take into account any debts, Morales said.

This is not the first nationalization of Spanish assets. Last year Bolivia took control of several power transmission and distribution companies affecting Spain's Red Electrica and Spanish utility Iberdrola. Despite compensation pledges no agreement has been reached yet.

At a summit of European and Latin American leaders in Chile last month, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged the region's governments to respect Spain's investments.

Sabsa has operated the airports of Cochabamba, La Paz and Santa Cruz since privatization in the nineties.

Top Comments

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  • Captain Poppy

    Spain is getting screwed in SA and the Spanish government does nothing. Bolivia will continue on it's primitive track with actions like this.

    Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:00 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    Yes, and I wonder how much 'cow pat head' will be investing in them. Nada.

    Shades of TMBOA.

    Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:03 pm 0
  • bushpilot

    “Despite compensation pledges no agreement has been reached yet.”

    So much for being compensated.

    Nationalizing things and controlling the economy to make things more socially equal is probably a noble endeavor. But bureaucracies tend to just make things move forward more slowly.

    So, in the quest for egalitarianism on the national level, the nation just becomes less and less economically equal on the international level.

    Then that country's people observe how much better things are elsewhere and feel victimized for it. Then that country's politicians start spewing the nationalistic, “poor victim”, “evil capitalists” rhetoric and get elected for their tripe.

    Then they nationalize more companies and screw up their country's global economic standing even more. And on, and on, and on.

    Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:11 pm 0
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