Monday, April 1, 2013

Bolivian President Nationalizes Airlines

The Bolivian government declared that all of the country’s privately-run airlines will be nationalized.

Aerocon and Amaszonas, two small air carriers that mostly operate in Bolivia could soon become incorporated into the state-run Boliviana de Aviación.

“I’ve already named an airport after me so why not control the airlines, too?” said President Evo Morales at a press conference on Monday. 

The leader referred to the controversial renaming of the Oruro airport that was originally dedicated to aviation pioneer Juan Mendoza.

The president added that he might “choose a snappy new name for the airline” such as Moralestrellas, which he claimed would be a combination of his name and the Spanish word for stars (estrellas).  But Oruro Mayor Rossio Pimentel claimed that both the nationalization plans and the renaming are “terrible ideas” since Moralestrellas could be translated as “crashing morale.”

Morales has nationalized numerous major industries since taking office in 2006.  One of his most recent nationalizations involved the state takeover of three Spanish-owned airports.  Along with last year’s nationalization of a Spanish-owned electric power company, relations between the Andean state and Spain have been tense and uneasy:

“The Spanish government deeply regrets the Bolivian government’s decision to nationalize Sabsa, and particularly the police occupation of its headquarters,” Spain’s Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. “Spain does not consider this a friendly act.”  
Video Source– YouTube via user DeutscheWelleEspanol

Online Sources – Bloomberg, BBC News, Wikipedia

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