Monday, February 18th 2013 - 16:29 UTC

Morales nationalizes control of Bolivia three main airports

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.

Bolivian president argued Spanish operators had not fulfilled investment commitments

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.

38 comments Feed

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1 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:00 pm Report abuse
Spain is getting screwed in SA and the Spanish government does nothing. Bolivia will continue on it's primitive track with actions like this.
2 ChrisR (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:03 pm Report abuse
Yes, and I wonder how much 'cow pat head' will be investing in them. Nada.

Shades of TMBOA.
3 bushpilot (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:11 pm Report abuse
“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.
4 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:21 pm Report abuse
That assumes evil evo allows the people to know what is actually going on outside. Argentina is proof of how easy it is to brainwash and have your thoughts prearranged.
5 Think (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:27 pm Report abuse
Yes to business and investment...
No to looting and exploitation...

Fuerza Sr. Morales,
6 Ayayay (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 05:52 pm Report abuse
@5 who invests in anything where you can seize it?,
I believe national enterprises CAN work. But the way they did it they'll need to invest in themselve
7 Conqueror (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 06:02 pm Report abuse
No doubt part of the “Kirchner” model. Goodbye Bolivia. Get out the spears and return to the jungle. Much safer.
8 yankeeboy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 06:09 pm Report abuse
All of these Bolivarian Socialist, Presidents por vida run failed corrupt states. The only people getting ahead are the family of the Dictators and their minions/cronies.
9 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 06:20 pm Report abuse
Evo is failing his people and because of expropriations, no business with invest in bolivia, evo sealed that deal. bolivia will remain a primitive tribal country thanks to evo.
10 yankeeboy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 06:35 pm Report abuse
Evo is just another arrogant uneducated stupid socialist,

Their arrogance of not selling nat gas to Chile has cost their citizens a much better way of life.
So who are their customers Brazil, well not for long once they get their newly discovered fields on line they will drop Bolivia. Argentina, well only the north where nobody lives because no one will invest in the pipelines to get it to BA. At least not until both Evo and CFK are gone.
So in a couple years when Brazil stops buying Bolivia will still have large reserves just no customers.
Stupid arrogant fools.

Bolivia is DIRT poor, super disgusting and no place I will ever go again.
11 bushpilot (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 06:55 pm Report abuse
@5 think

Day 1:

Thank you for setting this up for us. We could not have done this so well ourselves. We appreciate this business investment!

Day 3:

Whoa, hey!! You're looting and exploiting us now and we're going to seize what you put together.

Nice way of looking at things.
12 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 07:00 pm Report abuse
#11 now that they've taken over the airports, the skies will never be safe again over sunny bolivia.
13 slattzzz (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 07:12 pm Report abuse
spain gets another kick in the nether regions from its so called SA friends, wake up and smell the bullshit and treachary from the SA. Stop bullying Gib and take a look southward, idiots they are making fools out of you!!!!!
14 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 07:17 pm Report abuse
Spain has their head up their ass for allowing them to be looted. With the problems Spain has, less tax dollars are not doing Spain any good. One would think they would take an agressively, hard assed approach. How much more will Spain allow SA to steal from them?
15 Condorito (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 08:02 pm Report abuse
Well his heart is in the right place, but it makes no sense economically.
16 golfcronie (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 08:07 pm Report abuse
The western world ought to leave all the Latin American countries to f***k up their countries then we can move in and clean up
17 Troy Tempest (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 08:14 pm Report abuse

I don't know if it is real. I suspect not. Certainly the terms will be set by Bolivia.

Spain might be wise to just take whatever pennies on the dollar offered, and bail.

However, make sure they take ALL their expertise with them.

When the inevitable deterioration and cracks occur, maybe a better deal can be brokered with a 'better' government.
18 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 08:28 pm Report abuse
FAce it......SA is FUBAR.....and at this point, any business that invests anywhere in SA gets what they deserve. I suspect countries are well on there way to regressing to a good 100 years ago....or worse, become like rgentina.
19 Condorito (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 08:49 pm Report abuse
golfcronie, Captain P, can you please be more discerning. Chile and Peru are growing at a splendid rate. In the case of Peru this in a new thing, in the case of Chile it is a 20+ year trend.

Chile 2012:
GDP growth: 5.9%
Unemployment: 7.8%
Inflation: 2.5%
Salaries increase: 6.3%
Minimum wage increase: 25%
Life expectancy increase (2002 - 2012): 10 years!

Chilean GDP/head will break through $20k this year...Bolivia is at $2.5k

We are not f**king up and we are not regressing.

“make sure they take ALL their expertise with them” - problem is that Spanish expertise is just desperate for a job. They are all over here begging for work at the moment.
20 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 09:15 pm Report abuse
My apologise for grouping every country in SA that category.
21 The Chilean perspective (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 09:43 pm Report abuse
@ Condorito.
Unfortunately some of these Brit posters are nearly as bad as the Argentine ones.
What I would like to say though is that Bolivia sits on untold riches and all they have to do is get them out. Sadly they have a living standard bellow that of Guyana and it looks like it will remain like that for the foreseeable future. Anti business and FDI policies will doom a poverty stricken, resource rich nation that has little or no capital. A perfect example is their Lithium reserves. NO Morales doesn't want to lease out a mining concession to EVIL foreign companies, he wants the state to extract the metal and value add by making batteries and electric cars, I gotta tell you I pissed myself laughing when I read this. With rulers like these who needs enemies.
22 Condorito (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 10:35 pm Report abuse
Could his electric car project be even more of a joke than Chavez's one?
The magnitude of Bolivia's backwardness is best illustrated by the fact that most of us feel sorry for them. I mean if you relentlessly demand a piece of your neighbors national territory and your neighbor doesn't even lose any sleep over it, how serious a country are you?

And those poor soldiers this week. 3 armed Bolivian captured in our territory and Evo is complaining to the UN. Could you imagine this the other way round...we start demanding a chunk of Bolivia and our soldiers turn up in their country...holy crap it would be a declaration of war!
23 The Chilean perspective (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 11:15 pm Report abuse
@ 22 Condorito
You're right we do feel sorry for them. We import more than 4 billion M3 of natural gas mainly from Trinidad and Tobago every year, you think they would wanto get in on the action, they could take the whole lot if they wanted and that would make a big difference to their living standards. Pity.
24 screenname (#) Feb 18th, 2013 - 11:50 pm Report abuse
@22 and @23:

Do you guys think that maybe this is why some SA countries are so keen to back Argentina over the Falklands, in that it could open a pandora's box regarding re-drawing national borders?
25 JoseAngeldeMonterrey (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 03:44 am Report abuse
South Americans are nationalizing Spanish investments, because they see Spain as a weak geopolitical power with nothing to offer in return. The US, China, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Brazil have plenty of clout in the region, they can offer something in return for protection of their investments. }
South America populist politicians are like vultures smelling a dead man walking in every Spanish enterprise in the region. Traditional Spanish arrogant behavior never helped them. Mexico´s investments in the region are normally factories producing different goods, consumer-goods, soft-drinks, cement, cable, bread, telecom and television, nothing related to highly-exposed sectors such as gas, oil, banking or other similar sectors. If Spain does not have a military or economic influence in the region, as it is the case with Mexico, then they should have never invested in important sectors of high national value to those countries.
26 Ayayay (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 05:21 am Report abuse
@19 isall kinds of right.

And on.a separate note, that profit margin seems outrageously gargantuan, if he's being anywhere accurate. Competitive bidding countries with lower nepotism and greater transparency.
27 agent999 (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 11:30 am Report abuse
Its not quite as clear cut as Morales would like the world to believe.

“SABSA invested 3.7 million dollars and made a profit of 20 million dollars” claimed Morales”
28 Idlehands (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 02:25 pm Report abuse
24 screenname

I have assumed that a major reason they support the Argentine case is simply because if they don't nothing else gets done. It costs them little political capital to agree (the UK doesn't really care) but immense earache if they don't. Argentina is a big fish in the little pond of South America - the rest just want to get by.

I'm sure there is a multitude of reasons that could be given but I believe that is the crux of the geopolitical one.
29 ElaineB (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 02:49 pm Report abuse
@24. I think it is just part of the Nationalist mind-set they need to rule. They need an enemy and a cause to unite people. Venezuela “the evil USA”, Argentina “the evil British pirates”, Bolivia, “The evil land-grabbing Chileans” etc.

When you have a significant poor population with hopeless lives, you just need to give them half a hope (albeit false) and blame all their ills on an outside enemy to keep them onside. Then you improve their lives by a fraction to show you are working for them but never allow them to progress out of poverty (then you lose your voting base) or educate them (so they can see the lie) and rob the country blind.

Bolivia is the poorest SoAm country. Morales says it is because they don't have access to the sea. (I offer you Switzerland?!?) No, it is ignorance, incompetence and deliberately keeping people poor that is the problem.

I wouldn't call the place ugly. Parts are ugly and parts are stunningly beautiful.
30 Idlehands (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 03:31 pm Report abuse
27 agent999

I assume the statement “The expropriation of Sabsa has no impact on the accounts of abertis” - means they had already written it off as a bad debt?
31 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 03:44 pm Report abuse
You are absolutley correct Elaine, it's that Nationalist fervor. I see it a lot down there. There is a distinct difference in national pride and nationalism. They are untied in that they feel taken advantage of and the leaders seem to motivate their flocks with anti-ism. Anti-Europe, Anti-USA......whatever works to shake the hornets nest. The only thing that they truly are accomplishing is locking themselves out of the international markets with that anti-ism. They also feel re-enforced in the believe that China is they solution to tossing away the west. hey are in for a ruder awakening.
32 Stevie (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 05:16 pm Report abuse
In Latin America, the “West” is merely reaping what it has been sowing for the last 600 years.
Minas Gerais, Salvador Allende, Guantanamo, the Panama channel, Tenochtitlan, the oil in Maracaibo, plan Condor, Che Guevara, Oscar Romero, the blockade of Cuba, the slaves, the Mayan, Tupac Amaru, Victor Jara... the list is long...
33 yankeeboy (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 08:40 pm Report abuse
32. Latin America is a very big place, The West as you like to call it is doing very well with every country EXCEPT the Bolivarian Socialists and nobody wants to do business with them anyway. Every single one of those countries is dying from corruption and isolation. It is fine with (us) The West there are plenty of other places to do business where you don't have to worry about your property getting nationalized FOR THE PEOPLE.
Gads what awful places
and Elaine, I was mostly talking about La Paz most horrible capital city I have ever seen. Dirty Dirty Dirty, disgusting food, no nightlife, no decent hotels I will never ever go back.
34 Stevie (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 08:46 pm Report abuse
Poppy was calling it “the West”, I just used his definition.
And I can assure you that Latin America has plenty of places to do business with as well. Matter of fact, I think of the two, “the West” will be the one that loosesthe most. It's not like Latin America was the one getting cheap resources out of “the West”, now was it?
35 yankeeboy (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 09:26 pm Report abuse
34. Can you please back up these outlandish statements with any facts? As far as I know the Bolivarian Socialist Axis is desperate for FDI and has some of the lowest 5 of gdp investment in the world.
If I am wrong please post the links to show me differently.
36 Stevie (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 09:33 pm Report abuse
Nostradamus is asking me to come with facts with links backing it up... Hilarious!
Latin America can trade with the emerging economies in Asia, matter of fact, they are. China alone has outgrown almost all “western” countries in quite many LA nations.
Besides, I needn't back anything up, as my statement says “I think”, and I assure you I do.
37 yankeeboy (#) Feb 19th, 2013 - 11:20 pm Report abuse
I think.. doesn't look that way to me.
Back up your fantastical lies or hang your head in shame.
38 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 22nd, 2013 - 05:00 pm Report abuse
“Matter of fact, I think of the two, “the West” will be the one that loosesthe most.”

Is it a matter of fact that you think, or a matter of fact the “the west” will lose? Personally I don't feel you think so it must be a matter of fact the the west will lose. Either way, what is the basis for your opinion.....a feeling, like a full colon?

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