Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bolivia takeover alarms powerful allies

By Robert Plummer
BBC News business reporter

Anyone who seriously believed that Latin America's various left-leaning leaders all thought alike will have been puzzled by the fallout from Bolivia's nationalisation of its vast natural gas fields.
For the most anguished reaction to President Evo Morales' move has come from a country that might have been considered one of his staunch natural allies - Brazil.
Less than four months ago, in the run-up to Mr Morales' inauguration, he and Brazil's President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva were seen smiling for the cameras after discussing co-operation in the energy sector.
Mr Morales came to Brasilia with a track record of activism as a former coca-growers' union leader, as well as a commitment to economic reforms that would benefit Bolivia's impoverished indigenous majority.

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