South America is Officially Ablaze
Ecuador yesterday joined the wave of Latin American governments targeting foreign-owned industries when it fulfilled its threat against an American oil company and took "full technical control" of its operations.Of course, they're referring to Venezuela and Bolivia.
The offices and installations of Occidental Petroleum were occupied by soldiers earlier this week, provoking a furious response by Washington.That has pretext written all over it. But, good. They deserve to get the boot.
But yesterday, a Petroecuador official announced: "We are in control of Occidental's technical operations."
State oil officials are expected to replace Occidental executives running oil fields in the Amazon region.
While the government of President Alfredo Palacio denied the seizure was part of a wider move to nationalise oil deposits in the Andean nation, the action follows a path blazed by the Leftist regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia.
Mr Palacio's government said that Occidental had violated the terms of its concession by selling part of its holdings to a Canadian firm in 2004 without Ecuador's approval.
International corporations - specifically moneylenders and their pet transnational corporations - have been bleeding Ecuador dry for decades.
In 1999, Ecuador's public external debt was equivalent to 90% of their annual GDP. Needless to say, it's impossible to pay off that debt with all its ever-accruing INTEREST.
To add insult to injury, their pet transnationals suck all the oil from their ground.
Occidental is the largest foreign investor in Ecuador and had been pumping 100,000 barrels of oil a day from the affected field in the Amazon.Things are about to get very HOT in South America.
Denying that it had violated its contract, Occidental said that it had offered the government £569 million in disputed taxes, investments and extra revenues to try to end the dispute.