El golpe de Bolivia huele a litio

CTXT, November 20, 2019

Bolivia has 21 million metric tons of lithium, strategic for the energy transition, which is almost 70% of the world’s reserves. Mining is the third productive sector of the Latin American country and, therefore, essential in the economic sphere, but also of great pressure in the political sphere. The government of the Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) has faced this reality on multiple occasions throughout its term in office. While extractivist policies – which peripheral economies are often forced to adopt in order to grow – condition the diversification of the national productive economy, the Morales administration’s commitment to the mining sector contributing to its social policies has been key to reducing poverty from 60.6% to 34.6% during its mandate, with a reduction in extreme poverty from 38.2% to 15.2%, among other undeniable achievements. This position has, however, led Bolivia into a conflictive relationship with mining multinationals. The suspension of inherited contracts and efforts to control a key sector have brought the country before international arbitration tribunals on several occasions – confrontations in which the Canadian government has adopted a particularly belligerent role, practically acting as spokesman for the country’s multinationals, which account for around 60% of the global business.

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