May 24, 2013
Morales announces expropriation of REE shares in Bolivia
Bolivian President Evo Morales announced the expropriation of the Red Eléctrica Española (REE) shares at an power transmission company in Bolivia and ordered the Army to take over the firm's headquarters.
"As a fair homage to the workers and the Bolivian people that has fought for the recovery of their natural resources and basic services, we nationalize the Power Transmission company" (TDE), Morales assured during the May Day rally at the Government Palace in La Paz. The measure was announced in the midst of the tension generated between Argentina and Rajoy's government over the expropriation of YPF.
The Head of State made the announcement a few hours before the inauguration of the gas processing plant at Southern Bolivia along with the President of Repsol oil company, Antonio Brufau, which will allow an increase of exports to Argentina.
The decree sets the "nationalization" of the "shares that form the stock of shares of the International Energy Mains-SAU," subsidiary of REE.
Morales justified the expropriation by assuring that "this Spaniard international company has barely invested 81 million dollars in 16 years, an average investment of five millions per year," which he considered insufficient.
Red Electrica officials were not immediately available for comment, but a Spanish government source in Madrid said authorities were in touch with La Paz to discuss technical and diplomatic aspects of the nationalization.
In 2006, Morales used the May 1 holiday to announce the takeover of petroleum companies operating in Bolivia. He later nationalized oil and gas reserves to redistribute wealth to the landlocked country's indigenous majority.