Bolivia: Protests against Chilean Port for Natural-Gas Exports Turn Violent
Protests have once again convulsed Bolivia, this time against government plans to export liquified natural gas (LNG) to the US, possibly through a port in Chile. The protests turned violent when a confrontation between campesinos and security forces resulted in seven deaths.
The protests began Sept. 16 with a series of strikes and roadblocks across the country to show opposition to the government plans to export LNG. The protesters blocked major roads linking the capital, La Paz, with other towns in Bolivia and also with neighboring Chile and Peru.
Bolivia has 1.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, the largest natural-gas reserve in Latin America. The gas deposit is in the southern department of Tarija. Bolivia is currently negotiating sales contracts for the gas with the US and Mexico.
But protesters are demanding that some 250,000 homes in Bolivia be supplied with gas free before any of it is exported. On a television program on Sept. 18, President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada said Bolivia had enough gas for "a thousand years."
A poll by the private firm Equipos Mori released Sept. 23 showed that 55% of Bolivians oppose exporting natural gas to the US.
Longstanding animosity with Chile underlies protests
The consortium Pacific LNG, which includes Spain's Repsol YPF, British Gas, and the US Panamerica Gas, wants to pump and transport the gas from the Margarita fields in southern Bolivia to …
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Publication information: Article title: Bolivia: Protests against Chilean Port for Natural-Gas Exports Turn Violent. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs. Publication date: September 26, 2003. Page number: Not available. © 2009 Latin American Data Base/Latin American Institute. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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