Is Evo’s world actually broad and alien?


January 2006
By Edgardo Arrivillaga

Translated by: Guillermo Echavarria - C&E asociados

The next days the computers will probably flood us with news on Evo Morales’ visit to Cuba. But they will tell us less on the crucial issue of the simultaneous Chinese investments in Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia. These investments are leaded by the Shandong Luneng group, one of the Chinese most important corporations, already solidly installed in Venezuela and Peru.

With a total investment of  U$S 10 billion for the year 2006, the Chinese corporation Luneng Group Shandong, which groups several Asian businessmen, is nowadays in position 45 among the 500 most powerful Chinese corporations. With a U$S 30 billion capital, 83 subsidiary companies and 148.000 employees, it plans investing at the strategic South American area in the following projects:
1. Building a 3 dock harbor at the Tacna’s department coast for handling large capacity ships, U$S 2 billion.
2. building an industrial zone U$S 4 billion
3. building collection, transport and distribution waterworks
4. building a two-way railroad for freight and passengers (from Sama-Tacna in Peru to Santa Cruz-Corumba in Bolivia) U$S 2 billion.
5. interconection with Bolivia’s and Brazil’s railroads
6. urban and services zone, U$S 2 billion

According to Tacna sources, the Chinese investments will create 5.000 indirect work positions (building) and 30.000 direct positions (operations), foreign currency for U$S 5 billion, and an annual trade of U$S 10 billion.

The place for the megaport installation will be the Sama Valley at Tacna city, strategically positioned in Latin America, because it is in South America’s middle point, at the west of the territory, at the geographically nearest point to China, and could make up a direct entry and exit point for Bolivia and the south and west of Brazil, making the international trade easier.

Simultaneously, the Corporation is in talks with Techint from Argentina, the serious part of ENARSA’s energy ring, and especially with Venezuela’s PVDS, which has signed agreements with Iran.

The Venezuela and Brazil objectives are consistent with the traditional Bolivian objectives, the mining aristocracy, that was endangered by Evo’s victory, and we should ask ourselves in a few days, when analyzing the Chinese corporation and the radicalized MAS pressure for expelling it from the area, in which measure Evo Morales victory is not a boomerang with unforeseen results for the South American energy coalition and what is hiding behind the indigenist’s flags.

Last year the Chinese stopped the talks with Bolivia for focusing in Peru, because they estimated the situation in Bolivia was unstable. Simultaneously, Pan American Energy and BP personnel had to be evacuated urgently – via Buenos Aires – because Evo’s “cocaleros” threatened burning them alive.

In a few days we will see if the MAS victory is an indigenist pretense, hiding a hard fight of the oil cartel, as was exactly what happened with Khomeini’s revolution in Iran against the autonomist Sha’s willpower pointing to make it the key country in the region.

A hard war of interests in South America is taking shape, and it covers all the variations we could think of.

The “cocalero” interests, the ecologist ones, which we will see moving fast for environmentalist targets unviable in the Altiplano and the British interests, traditionally associated with the Chinese in a double complement-competition relationship and with the Americans in our immediate regional frame

The political contradiction in Bolivia do not move through the Cuban island - with a quasi-embalmed leader – but through the landing of a new machesterian England with Asian features, at the rearguard of a transitorily endangered hegemonic American power, with other priorities.

We would see how the military unarmed argentine diplomacy plays its cards.