Too often, political and economic analysts summarily lump Bolivia together with the rest of South America’s leftist governments.
That has not been a comfortable category to be in over the past decade, and recent developments on the continent -- such as Argentina’s nationalization of Spanish oil company YPF in April and Venezuela’s January announcement that it would withdraw from the World Bank-hosted International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a key arbitration forum -- have only further rattled investors and governments. Even moderate Brazil has recently raised eyebrows with its tough treatment of multinational oil companies.
But President Evo Morales’ Bolivia is a special case, and a somewhat paradoxical one. The Morales administration follows a mercurial foreign policy and has nationalized strategic assets, including natural gas fields and utilities. And yet, at the same time, it manages Bolivia’s economy and public accounts prudently -- even conservatively.