Pipelines of Discontent
Bolivians threw out a government over plans to export natural gas. Bolivia and other gas-rich Latin American countries risk forfeiting forever the North American market that is theirs to lose.
It seems incredible that Bolivians, one of Latin America's
poorest people, would topple a government because the country
wanted to ship natural gas to North America, a plan that would
generate billions of dollars in export revenues. Days of street
fighting that left over 60 people dead forced Gonzalo
Sánchez de Lozada to quit as president and flee to the
US. Opposition to gas exports was the trigger for an uprising
that escalated into a battle against the government and its
policies that few people believed would ease poverty or restart
the stalled economy.
Carlos Mesa, Sánchez de Lozada's vice president, took
over the government and immediately called for a referendum on
the $5 billion-$6 billion gas project. "Whether the result is
going to be good or bad is something else, but at least we have
something we are driving towards, because before we had
nothing," he said....
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