the current so-called energy crisis, Argentineans
and South Americans in general are being submitted
to one of the best planned disinformation campaigns
of recent times. The petrol consortiums and to some
extent the governments of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile
have woven a tapestry of distortion and cover-ups
to hide crucial elements in the United States strategy
of forced appropriation of Latin American natural
is possible thanks to the break up of the State in
South America, duly recorded through the privatization
and deregulation that took place over the last decade
of neoliberal fundamentalism and thanks as well to
the fact that such policy making continues to hold
sway, despìte hints by the current government
in Buenos Aires, for example, at the proposed creation
of a State energy compny. What are the crucial elements
referred to above?
the first place, it's necessary to be clear that the
officially recorded deliveries of Argentinean gas
to Chile were not cut back as has been said and that
the energy shortages adduced by the government of
Richard Lagos are due to the fact that Chile increased
its re-exportation of that gas to the United States
to supply the very real crisis affecting the energy
sector in California.
that quasi-clandestine operation, Chile is complying
with the obligations imposed by the bilateral "free
trade" treaty that it has signed with the United
States, making a reality the very deeds against which
the Bolivian people rose up at the end of 2003 that
ended with the fall of President Gonzalo Sanchez de
Lozada and his replacement by another of Washington's
protegés, the current head of state Carlos
remember here that using bilateral trade deals with
different Latin American countries is one of the alternatives
drawn up by United States governments to impose a
kind of de facto Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
The FTAA project was put forward during the government
of the first George Bush, then reinstalled in the
mid 1990s by William Clinton, and finally taken up
again by the current denizen of the White House, George
it's necessary to make clear that the commercial triangulation
of the gas that Bolivia sells to Argentina - or more
accurately, that one business sells to itself - Repsol
Andes sells it to Repsol YPF - arrives in Chile via
gas pipelines also owned by Repsol and ends when it
is re-exported from there to the United States.
other words, the much-worked-over "cuts"
in Argentinean exports to its neighbour on the other
side of the Andes are in fact minimal and the energy
shortfall alleged by Lagos is the result of an increase
in his own exports to his business partner in the
North. From which one can conclude that the lack of
gas for domestic consumers and the productive apparatus
of both South American countries - in Argentina it
already affects 12 thousand industries - make up two
faces of the same deal and which always ends up in
the same coffers - those of Repsol.
that company undersupplies petrol to internal markets
so as to increase its export profits and pressures
the Argentinean government with constant demands for
an increase in domestic prices, a policy used by all
the other companies that make up the oligopoly that
runs this country.
data were revealed in a cautious way to APM (1)
by Argentinean technicians working for Repsol YPF
who based their findings on internal company documents
and explained that the procedure is illegal since
the Argentinean State not only does not know the volumes
of its gas reserves but neither does it have any control
over the transit or destination of the liquid gas
crossing its territory, much less over the destination
of 70% of the export profits that go to the petrol
companies - legally permitted not to use them in the
country - nor over the true nature or identity of
Repsol's financial and shareholder complexities -
Repsol is currently engaged in the bureaucratic steps
necessary to change itself into a corporation with
a United States parent company.
what does the Bolivian State get out of all this?
The Repsol group pays it only 15% of the proceeds
of officially recorded exports, since that altiplano
country has the same absence of controls that affects
Herrero, member of the movement for the recovery of
Argentina's energy sovereignty MORENO, explains his
view that when the ex-head of the Spanish government
José Maria Aznar came to power "the small
state refiner Repsol changed into a great big privatized
one, run by some of his friends. From there it has
worked as an intermediary for North American and British
does Repsol belong to? Herrero himself says "It's
a Spanish company, with Spanish banking capital in
which the State has a golden share until 2005. When
that share comes to term the owners are ready to sell
the company for a good price, it's probable that a
North American or British company will take over Repsol.
Even now, just three months ago, a Californian group
Brandes Co. Bought 9% of the shares."
economist of the National University of Buenos Aires
(UBA) recalls that "Repsol is the most highly
indebted oil company in the world. It got to the point
where its debt reached 80% against its capital."
Herrero went on to note that this - Spanish? - oil
company operates in Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela
and in Jamaica through a United States oil refinery.
cautious sources, consulted in Bolivia and the United
States, revealed to APM that Repsol is already contemplating
the sale of millions of shares to a US petrol consortium
led by the Bush clan, the same that started up , well
over a decade ago the Arbusto compnay (arbusto translates
as "bush") a link between the elder George
Bush and a family whose younger son is called Osama
sources of capital also form part of the shareholder
base of the Halliburton corporation, de facto winner
of the main contracts opened up by the US government
of occupation in Iraq among whose principal shareholders
is the current US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
one can confirm the deep articulation between the
Latin America of the military dictatorships of the
1970s, privatized, economies de-regulated and converted
into booty of the inter-imperial dispute between the
US and the European Union, and Iraq taken by force
by Washington in the name of its energy corporations.
Both geopolitical landscapes are crossed by the same
phenomenon, torture as a method of confronting popular
protest and armed resistance.
Latin America in the decade of the 1970s torture was
practised under the aegis of National Security Doctrine,
while in Iraq, the Pentagon's troops act in the name
of the Theory of Preventive Warfare and the "war
on International Terror".
the prologue to an important book by the Barzilian
political scientist Luís Alberto Moniz Bandeira
(3) another Brazilian specialist Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes
wrote " the US economic strategy for South America,
now blended and aggravated by a new enemy, international
terrorism, whose diffuse, terrible, maleficent existence
justifies everything, remains essentially; keep the
two main South American States, Brazil and Argentina,
dependent economically and financially using agreements
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its
increasingly direct administrative intervention, to
open and keep open their markets for goods, services
and capital and to get access to strategic raw materials."
US strategy, which was worked out fo everyone to see
during the 1990s in an academic document, "Projections
for 2015", taken up by the White House, puts
centre stage the following idea: to recover its absolute
hegemony, called into question by the European Union
and by the appearance of China as a new protagonist
on the international playing board, the United States
ought to secure control of the fundamental reserves
of the real economy. These reserves are those of energy,
distribution systems, drinking water and biodiversity.
achieve this objective US governments have set themselves
the task, among other things, and in accord with what
Pinheiro Girmaraes says, to break up the energy sovereignty
of periphery countries and encourage suspicion and
confrontation between them.
theoretic sketch slips like a ring onto the finger
as an explanation of the so-called South American
energy crisis and especially the explosive situation
of Bolivia, declared two months ago by the US State
Department as of the same priority and urgency as
Colombia, the geographic base of Washington's overall
regional military plans.
US encourages Chile, its partner and geo-strategic
pawn in the Southern Cone, so that its no to a negotiated
solution of a route to the sea for Bolivia - a demand
of that country since the Pacific War at the end of
the 19th Century - hots up the climate of instability
in the area. Furthermore, it forces the government
in Buenos Aires to prop up the new man in Bolivia,
President Meza, at the same time as giving Repsol,
virtually a US company, operative exclusivity in the
gas sector. Bolivia is the main reserve for gas in
the continent just as Venezuela is for oil .
the other hand, all this sets the scene for the FTAA
and for the return of the neoliberal fundamentalists
and further undermines the energy and production outlook
in general for the South American periphery, especially
Brazil and Argentina, Washington's two main worries
in the southern limits of our continent.
1.APM (Asociación Profesionales de Medios)
is an Argentinean medianetwork
2. See "Bush & ben Laden S.A." by Víctor
Ego Ducrot, Grupo Editorial Norma, Buenos Aires, 2001.
3."Argentina, Brasil y Estados Unidos",
Grupo Editorial Norma, Buenos Aires, 2004
published in Rebelión, July 5th)
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