Fortune smiles upon Santa Cruz. With abundant natural gas reserves that generate immense wealth for the local economy, some of the best weather in South America, and more beauty queens per square block than anywhere else on the planet, Santa Cruz should indeed a fantastic place to be.
Enter Evo Morales, Bolivia’s socialist president.
After his election in 2006, Morales helped pushed a new constitution through national referendum, that, among other things, restricted private land ownership and declared all natural resources to be the exclusive dominion of the Bolivian people (managed by the state, of course).
Morales took off on a nationalization binge, taking over assets owned by France’s GDF Suez, UK’s Rurelec, Italy’s Telecom Italia, Spain’s Repsol YPF, Brazil’s Petrobras, France’s Total, Switzerland’s Glencore, and a host of other international resource companies.
Each time this happens, Morales declares a major victory for the Bolivian people, promising to redistribute the wealth and improve everyone’s quality of life.